Wales to 'lead the way' cutting plastic bag use

Lidl store Image copyright Lidl
Image caption Shoppers are increasingly using bags-for-life for single use

Welsh shoppers will be the first in the UK to trial a scheme to cut the use of plastic bags.

Supermarket chain Lidl is removing 9p plastic bags from all of its 54 stores in Wales after identifying they were increasingly only being used once.

The move is expected to result in five million fewer plastic bags being sold annually.

The initiative could be rolled out across the rest of the UK, potentially saving 2,500 tonnes of plastic.

Lidl said Wales was the "obvious location" for the trial having "led the way" for the rest of the UK with the introduction of the plastic bag levy in 2011.

The retailer removed all 5p bags from sale in 2018 and will now remove all 9p bag from its stores in Wales by 1 May.

Shoppers will still be able to purchase a 38p heavy duty bag and 65p freezer bag.

A new cotton and jute alternative will also be available this summer.

The company said it would then "evaluate customer response and its environmental impact" before deciding whether or not to expand the scheme.

Image copyright Lidl
Image caption 80 million plastic bags are sold annually by Lidl in the UK

Lidl GB chief executive Christian Härtnagel said: "After seeing that our 9p reusable bag was increasingly being used as a single-use option, we wanted to look at how we could mitigate this pattern."

The Welsh Government said it was pleased Wales had been chosen for the initiative which would help "inform understanding" of consumer behaviour and bag use.

A spokesman added: "We will watch with close interest the effect of Lidl's innovation and how this will encourage reuse."

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