Marks & Spencer has launched a new reusable shopping bag that forms part of the retailer’s war on plastic as well as reduce poverty among people living in Haiti and the Philippines.
Launched this week, the eco-friendly bag is made from 75 per cent Social Plastic, which is plastic waste that has been collected and recycled by the Plastic Bank, a social enterprise seeking to stop ocean plastic pollution.
The bag has been launched as part of M&S’s Plastics Plan, which includes removing 1000 tonnes of plastic packaging in less than a year and replacing the 75 million pieces of plastic cutlery given out in its stores each year with FSC certified wood alternatives.
The new bag costs £1.30 and will be available across the retailer’s UK stores.
Plastic Bank incentivises people in Haiti and the Philippines – two areas highly polluted with plastic – to collect waste and take it to one of 36 recycling centres in return for a wage.
Collectors can alternatively exchange plastic waste for blockchain digital tokens that can be used to buy essential goods such as food, water, cook stoves and fuel.
Recycling centres in Manila sort the plastic by type and colour and shred it to create flakes, which are exported to Vietnam where the M&S bag is made.
Plastic Bank has recycled the equivalent of over 100 million plastic bottles since opening its first centre in Haiti in 2014.
With its mission to create environmental and social impact by monetising waste, Plastic Bank works to plastic from getting into the oceans while helping to improve people’s lives.
“With more plastic than fish predicted to be in the ocean by 2050, it’s vital that we all take action to minimise plastic waste,” M&S product developer Natalie Tate said.
“We’re reducing the amount of plastic we use as a business and developing smart ways to help our customers reduce the amount of plastic they use.
“This is a strong, sturdy, practical bag to help our customers with their shop, but with the added benefit of reducing poverty and preventing more plastic getting into our seas by turning waste plastic into a tangible and re-usable item.”