Health food retailer Holland & Barrett’s CEO Peter Aldis has today urged supermarkets to follow his example by banning plastic bags.
Last month, Government body WRAP reported that use of carrier bags increased by 5.4 per cent to almost eight billion last year despite incentives to encourage recycling.
Holland & Barrett banned the use of plastic bags in its stores in 2010 in favour of reusable and paper bags and also uses recyclable materials while banning parabens and SLS chemical from its toiletries among other measures.
In Wales, charging for the carrier bags was introduced in October which saw usage fall by 22 per cent last year though Aldis believes that more needs to be done to reduce environmental impact.
“Many retailers introduced half measures such as charging for plastic bags in a bid to encourage customers to shy away from using them,” he explained.
“But no-one else stepped up to the mark and banned plastic bags all together. We have proven it can be done, and 800,000 customers who shop with us every week have praised us for it.”
Although plastic bag usage has dropped by 35 per cent since 2006, this is the second consecutive year that the number has risen and Aldis has called on the Government to implement financial measures to restrict use.
“It is rare for a retailer to call for more taxes, but I would encourage the government to use tax pressures on retailers as other countries have proved it is purely a cultural change with the public that is required to achieve success.”
“As a business we’ve made significant changes to reduce the amount of waste we produce and become a more environmentally responsible business as a result.”