// Co-op to ditch plastic “bags for life”
// The supermarket said many shoppers are regularly buying bags for life to use just once
// The bags will be removed from circulation from the chain’s 2600 stores from today
The Co-op has announced it will remove plastic “bags for life” from sale in all of its stores in an effort to reduce plastic waste.
The supermarket said many shoppers are regularly buying bags for life to use just once, leading to a hike in plastic production.
More plastic is needed to produce bags for life than the conventional single-use bags.
The Co-op said the bags will be removed from circulation from the chain’s 2600 stores from today, with stock expected to be gone completely by the end of the summer.
It is part of its plans to remove 29.5 million bags for life – or 870 tonnes of plastic – from sale each year.
The initiative comes after Big 4 grocer Morrisons said in early April that it will scrap plastic “bags for life” and replace with tear-resistant paper bags.
“Increased use of bags for life has led to a sharp rise in plastic use,” Co-op Food chief executive Jo Whitfield said.
“With over 1.5 billion bags sold each year by retailers, this remains a massive issue for our industry as many shoppers are regularly buying so-called bags for life to use just once and it’s leading to a major hike in the amount of plastic being produced.
“We believe that it should be mandatory for all retailers to report on the sales of all of their reusable bags, not just single-use bags.
“Right now, Co-op is the only major retailer to report on all of the bags it sells.
“This policy would enable a fuller understanding on the impact of the levy and its true effect on shopping behaviours when customers are making decisions at the tills.”
Meanwhile, the cost of single-use plastic bags will double to 10p in England next month as part of the government’s new plan.