Morrisons plans to remove all plastic carrier bags from checkouts

Morrisons has unveiled plans for the removal of all plastic carrier bags from checkouts should a 12-week trial across eight of its stores prove successful.

Starting today, the supermarket will offer large reusable paper bags instead of plastic bags at checkouts in eight of its stores. These will cost 30p per bag, which is the same price as the plastic ‘bags for life’.

Although single-use 5p carrier bags were removed from most major supermarkets in 2018, there is evidence the stronger bags for life are often also only used once before being thrown away.

The announcement therefore aims to improve Morrisons’ environmental impact, with the grocer estimating that taking away plastic bags for life across all its stores would remove 3,510 tonnes of plastic per year. It said it will consult with customers before making a final decision on whether to roll out the scheme nationwide.

Morrisons has already introduced paper carrier bags throughout the checkouts of its 494 stores since the start of last year, noting they have proven popular with customers, with one in three switching from plastic to paper bags.

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, commented: “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. 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 move is part of Morrisons’ 2017 commitment to reduce its use of plastic by 50% by 2025. In 2019, 9,000 tonnes of plastic was removed and made recyclable by the retailer.

A number of sustainability commitments have been made by major supermarkets during recent years. Last month, Aldi said it will remove 74,000 tonnes of plastic packaging by 2025, thereby reducing its plastic volume by half.