Waitrose has amplified efforts to reduce plastic waste by pledging to scrap single-use plastic bags across all its stores by next year.
The grocer has committed to removing all 5p single-use bags and replace all bags for loose fruit and vegetables with a new compostable alternative by spring of 2019.
It will trial the removal of 5p plastic bags in eight stores from October this year, including stores in Dorking, Newark and East Putney, to help understand how to manage the transition.
It will then subsequently scrap the bags entirely in March 2019, while replacing the smaller single-use plastic bags for fruit and vegetables with home-compostable alternatives which will also break down in landfill.
These initiatives are due to see Waitrose save 134 million plastic bags per year, the equivalent of 500 tonnes of plastic.
This follows similar announcements earlier this year that Waitrose would be scrapping all single use coffee cups by autumn this year, with cups now removed from 300 of its 348 stores.
“The removal of these bags will change the way our customers, many of whom have been asking us to do this, shop with us in the future,” head of corporate social responsibility Tor Harris said.
“We know we still have a lot to do, but as with our commitment to removing takeaway disposable cups earlier this year, this represents another major step forward in reducing our use of plastics.”