End of plastic bags: Morrisons launches paper carrier bags trial scheme



The supermarket giant has announced it is introducing the plastic-free shopping bags in eight different stores. Should the trial prove to be a success, the paper bags could be rolled out nationally in Morrisons stores. So, what can customers expect from the bags? Fairly similar to those used by many supermarket chains in the US, the Morrisons bags will have handles and a similar capacity to standard plastic bags.

The Bradford-based chain will launch the eight-week trial in eight of its 493 stores – which includes Skipton, Hunslet and Yeadon, in Yorkshire.

London’s Camden and Wood Green branches will also take part in the trial.

That’s in addition to stores in Erskine, Scotland, Gibraltar, and Abergavenny, Wales.

The effort came as a response to customers saying that reducing plastic is their top environmental concern.

Shoppers will be able to pick up the branded paper grocery bag for 20 pence.

These bags, labelled as the ‘Reusable Paper Bag’, will be able to be reused and later recycled.

They are 100 per cent PEFC sourced from forests, which are managed responsibly, Yorkshire Post reported.

Andy Atkinson, Morrisons’ group customer and marketing director, said: “These new paper bags do exactly the same job as standard plastic carrier bags.

“They are tough, reusable and can help keep a large amount of plastic out of the environment.”

As part of the trial, Morrisons will also up the price of their standard plastic carrier bags from 10p to 15p, in an effort to further reduce plastic use in its stores.

Early last year, the retailer scrapped its 5p carrier bags, which led to a 25 per cent reduction in its overall bag sales.

A 5p plastic bag levy was introduced in England back in October 2015, with all large retailers required to introduce the charge.

Similar schemes also run in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Any proceeds retailers make from the 5p charge are expected to be donated to good causes.

Government figures from the end of last year showed that nearly two billion 5p plastic bags were sold in the last financial year.

In contrast, 7.6 billion carrier bags – which works out at 140 per person – were handed out by England’s seven largest supermarkets back in 2014.

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