Retail giant Boots has vowed to ditch plastic bags in all its stores by next year, replacing them with paper ones.
The company said 53 stores will lose plastic bags at checkouts from Monday, with all 2,485 sites only offering customers paper bags from early next year.
However, Boots will continue to charge customers for the new unbleached brown bags, despite them not falling under the plastic bag tax.
Managing director Seb James said the decision means 900 tonnes of plastic will be removed from his stores as a result.
He said: “Plastic waste is undoubtedly one of the most important issues around the world today, with TV shows like Blue Planet highlighting the effects of plastic pollution.”
James added: “This year, we are transforming Boots as we celebrate 170 years, and the move to unbleached paper bags is another pivotal moment in that journey.
“There is no doubt that our customers expect us to act and this change signifies a huge step away from our reliance on plastic.”
Hundreds of companies have already made pledges to cut back the amount of plastic and packaging they use.
Earlier this month, Waitrose unveiled a new “plastic-free” store, McDonald’s is replacing plastic straws with paper ones, and supermarket Iceland has promised to end plastic packaging from own-label products by 2023.
Helen Normoyle, director of marketing at Boots, said: “Our new paper bags have been carefully tested to make sure that, over their entire lifecycle, they are better for the environment, whilst still being a sturdy, practical option for customers who haven’t brought their own bags with them when shopping.”
The recycled brown bags cost 5p, 7p and 10p, depending on size, and the company said all profits will be donated to BBC Children in Need.
Where the new paper bags will be available straight away:
- Nottingham Victoria Centre
- Derby Intu Shopping Centre
- Sheffield Meadowhall Shopping Centre
- Cambridge Petty Cury,
- Peterborough Queensgate Centre
- Manchester Trafford Centre
- London Canary Wharf Canada
- Bristol Broadmead
- Milton Keynes Crown Walk,
- Exeter High Street
- Cardiff Queen Street
- Oxford Cornmarket Street
- Plymouth Drake Circus
- Leeds Trinity
- Belfast Donegal Place
- Edinburgh 101 Princes Street
- Aberdeen Bon Accord Centre
- Newcastle Eldon Square
- London Sedley Place
- London Brent Cross Shopping Centre
- London Liverpool St Station
- Watford The Harlequin
- Bromley The Glades Shopping Centre
- Kingston Upon Thames Union Street
- London Kensington
- Southampton Above Bar Street
- West Thurrock Lakeside Shopping Centre
- Brighton North Street
- Jersey St Helier Queen Street
- London Piccadilly Circus
- Dartford Bluewater Park
- London 193 Oxford Street
- Liverpool Clayton Square Shopping Centre
- Manchester Market Street
- Birmingham High Street
- Canterbury Whitefriars Shopping Centre
- Chelmsford High Chelmer
- London White City Shopping Centre
- York 43 Coney Street
- Bath Southgate Centre
- London Stratford City
- Dudley Merry Hill Centre
- Bristol Cribbs Causeway
- Reading Oracle Centre
- Lincoln High Street
- Gateshead Metro Centre
- Salcombe Fore Street
- Glasgow Braehead Centre
- Glasgow Buchanan Gallery
- Liverpool New Mersey Retail Park
- Leicester Fosse Park
- Glasgow Fort
- Covent Garden