Morrisons will trial paper containers for groceries as the supermarket giant moves a step closer to removing all plastic bags from its stores

  • Supermarket Morrisons to run trial with paper bags in bid to remove plastic bags
  • Morrisons was the first UK supermarket to introduce paper carrier bags last year
  • Removing bags for life out of all stores would take 90 million out of the system

Supermarket giant Morrisons is a step closer to removing all plastic bags from its stores.

The retailer is running a trial with paper bags that will eventually see plastic ‘bags for life’ removed from checkouts, following its ban on 5p single-use bags.

The move will initially apply in eight stores and, if successful, it will be adopted by hundreds of others across the country.

Morrisons was the first supermarket in the UK to introduce paper carrier bags at checkouts in all of its 494 stores at the start of last year

It comes in response to concerns that many shoppers have switched from the cheap 5p bags to the bags for life, but are using them only once and throwing them away.

Removing standard plastic bags for life across all Morrisons stores would take 90 million out of the system, saving 3,510 tons of plastic a year.

Morrisons was the first supermarket in the UK to introduce paper carrier bags at checkouts in all of its 494 stores at the start of last year. 

Chief executive David Potts said yesterday: ‘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.’

The store’s paper bag costs 30p, the same as a plastic bag for life. It has handles and can carry up to 35lb. They are made at an eco-powered site in Wales.

Morrisons will continue to offer jute, cotton and reusable woven bag options, priced at £2.50, £1.50 and 60p respectively.

The retailer is running a trial with paper bags that will eventually see plastic ‘bags for life’ removed from checkouts, following its ban on 5p single-use bags [File photo]

Could this be the end of bags for life?

In 2019, a report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Greenpeace revealed that a typical ‘bag-for-life’ needed to be used a least four times if it was as thin polyethylene bag and least 11 times if was a thicker polypropylene bag to be equivalent to that of a conventional single-use carrier.

But researchers found that people were not doing this and a ‘bag for life’ was becoming a ‘bag-for-a-week’.  

Following the report, researchers called for the standard price for a bag for life to be raised from 10p to 70p as this would encourage longer use of the bags.

In 2011, research by the Northern Ireland Assembly said it took more energy to manufacture a paper bag than it did a plastic one.

The study also found paper bags had to be reused at least three times to be better than plastic bags.

Another study found that bags for life used up more plastic resources than single-use bags.

Meanwhile a cotton bag would have to be put into action 131 times to be more environmentally friendly than its plastic counterpart.

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