Supermarket chain to trial paper bags at eight stores which if successful could be rolled out nationwide
Supermarket chain Morrisons could be set to remove all plastic 'bags from life' from all of its checkouts across the country should a new trial announced today in eight of its stores prove successful.
The trial will see plastic carrier bags replaced with branded, recyclable paper bags made from PEFC-certified wood, Morrisons said. The paper bags will be priced at 30p, the same as for the plastic bags.
If the move prove popular with shoppers, the firm hopes to adopt the initiative nationwide, which it said would save 90 million plastic bags from being used, eliminating 3,510 tonnes of plastic waste a year.
"We believe customers are ready to stop using plastic carrier bags as they want to reduce the amount of plastic they have in their lives and keep it out of the environment," said David Potts, chief executive at Morrisons. "We know that many are taking reusable bags back to store and if they forget these, we have paper bags that are tough, convenient and a re-useable alternative."
The announcement forms part of the retail giant's pledge to reduce its use of plastic by 50 per cent by 2025. It has previously replaced plastic with paper in other areas of its stores, such as for bagging-up fresh produce. As well as paper, Morrisons also offers jute, cotton and reusable woven bags options in all stores, priced at £2.50, £1.50 and 60p respectively.
But while welcoming efforts to slash plastic use, some experts have criticised the firm's pivot to paper, warning that paper bags can have a greater climate impact across their lifecycle than plastic alternatives. Instead, calls have come for a greater focus on shifting to reusable bags and reducing packaging, rather than on switching to alternative materials.
"We found that bags for life were quickly becoming 'bags for a week', with the bags largely being treated as a single-use option with disastrous environmental consequences," said Christina Dixon, senior oceans campaigner at the Environmental Investigations Agency. "We commend Morrisons for seeking to address this challenge and reduce their plastic footprint. However, no material comes without an environmental consequence - in the case of paper, the potential impact is on deforestation - and we would strongly urge supermarkets to shift their focus from material replacements and instead concentrate efforts on a long-term shift to re-usable bags and an overall reduction in packaging."
Drax eyes key role for Cruachan pumped hydro storage station in managing growing levels of renewable electricity on the grid
Energy distribution firm launches study to map out which green heating technologies are best-suited to different areas, from rural to urban
Going green dramatically benefits businesses - it should be central to their coronavirus recovery strategy
Four main ways that greening can benefit businesses, according to the University of Southampton's Jagannadha Pawan Tamvada and Bournemouth University's Mili Shrivastava
The innovation is now in place on UK cans of Foster's, Kronenbourg and Heineken, with the rest of Heineken's portfolio set to follow in 2021