Morrisons to stop selling plastic carrier bags

Image source, Morrisons

Morrisons has said it will remove all plastic carrier bags from its stores over the next year.

The supermarket chain will switch from offering plastic "bags for life" to a paper alternative.

Morrisons says the move will make it the first UK supermarket to stop using plastic carrier bags completely.

In recent years, all supermarkets have tried to cut plastics use. Some of Morrisons' High Street competitors have initiatives of their own.

Waitrose is currently trialling the removal of its 10p bags for life from a number of its stores with a view to rolling it out more widely.

For its part, Sainsbury's says its bags for life cost 20p to encourage customers to re-use them and are made from 100% recycled plastic.

Asda defended its continued use of plastic bags for life, saying they were a "sustainable alternative to single-use carrier bags... particularly given the concerns around CO2 emissions related to the paper-bag production process".

'Significant milestone'

Morrisons said the removal of the plastic bags for life would begin in Scotland this month, followed by England and Wales over the course of the next 12 months.

It follows a successful trial in eight of its stores last year. Morrisons has almost 500 supermarkets nationwide.

Morrisons' chief executive, David Potts, said: "We have been listening hard to our customers over the past year and we know that they are passionate about doing their bit to keep plastics out of the environment.

"Removing all of the plastic bags from our supermarkets is a significant milestone in our sustainability programme."

Almost 100 million plastic bags will be removed in total, saving 3,200 tonnes of plastic a year, according to Morrisons.

Morrisons says the reusable paper bags will cost 30p each and are recyclable, water and tear resistant. It says the bags can hold up to 16kg - or 13 bottles of wine, the same as a plastic bag for life.

Paper bags will be sold alongside string, jute, cotton and reusable woven bags, which are priced between 75p and £2.50.

Morrisons has also removed all plastic bags from its fruit and vegetable areas in store, offering brown paper bag alternatives instead.

Plastic bags and packaging are still used on meat and fish counters but customers can bring their own containers to take items home.

Online deliveries fulfilled by its partner Ocado, which account for 25% of all Morrisons' online orders, will continue to be delivered in recyclable plastic carrier bags.

Single-use 5p carrier bags were removed from Morrisons in 2018.