Next time you forget to bring your tote bag to the supermarket, you might be able to avoid buying a plastic one – but it’ll cost you.
Morrisons is introducing paper grocery bags costing 20p each as part of an eight-week trial in eight of its UK stores. The supermarket will also be hiking the price of long-life plastic bags to 15p.
The trial is apparently in response to customers who say reducing plastic is their top environmental concern. Morrisons removed 5p carrier bags early in 2018, which led to a 25% reduction in overall bag sales.
We’re all for reducing plastic, but fingers crossed these paper replacements are sturdy.
The stores participating in the trial are Camden, Skipton, Wood Green, Hunslet, Yeadon, Erskine, Gibraltar and Abergavenny.
The 5p plastic bag levy was introduced in England from 5 October 2015, and all large retailers have been required to introduce the charge. Similar schemes run in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Figures from the government at the end of 2018 showed nearly two billion 5p plastic bags were sold in the last financial year. This is a stark reduction from 2014, when 7.6 billion carrier bags – the equivalent of 140 per person – were handed out solely by England’s seven largest supermarkets.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) figures show the same seven retailers – Asda, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury, Tesco, The Co-operative Group, Waitrose and Morrisons – sold 1.04 billion 5p bags in 2017/18, nearly 60% of the 1.75 billion in England.