Environment campaigners have applauded Tesco’s decision to scrap 5p carrier bags in favour of 10p ‘Bags for Life’.
The supermarket giant announced this morning that it will stop selling single-use plastic bags from August 28, replacing them with long-lasting 10p alternatives which are made from 94% recycled plastic.
According to Tesco, the move follows a 10 week trial which led to a 25% drop in plastic bag sales, with ‘Bags for Life’ replaced fro free when they begin to wear out.
Online customers will still be able to opt for single-use carrier bags, but the retailer said that 57% of this group already opt for a bagless delivery.
The supermarket chain said sales of the more expensive bag would be used to fund community projects across Britain.
Greenpeace UK welcomed the decision, saying it was “great to see major retailers moving away from disposable plastic”.
“For too long we’ve seen plastic as something to be used once and thrown away,” senior campaigner Louise Edge said.
“But there is no such place as ‘away’ – and millions of tonnes of plastic are ending up in our rivers, beaches, streets and in the sea every year, harming marine life.”
Tesco’s decision comes less than two years after the compulsory carrier bag charge was introduced in England in attempt to cut down plastic waste.
Since October 2015, when the levy was first introduced, the number of plastic bags used in England has dropped by 83%.
While Tesco estimates it has given out 1.5 billion fewer single-use bags since the charge was brought in, the supermarket still sells over 700 million of these each year.
Matt Davies, UK and ROI CEO, said: “Today’s move will help our customers use even fewer bags but ensure that those sold in our stores continue to fund thousands of community projects across the country chosen by customers.
“It’s the right thing to do for the environment and for local communities.”
Sales of the 10p bag will be used to fund the supermarket’s Bags of Help scheme, which helps local community projects across Britain.
To date, Tesco has raised more than £33 million for more than 6,400 projects through its plastic bag charge.