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Co-op to introduce compostable carrier bags

The supermarket chain is to introduce the new bags after successful trials

Compostable shopping bags that can be used as liners for food waste bins are to be introduced in Co-operative Food stores.

For 6p, customers can buy the bags which are strong enough to carry heavy items including milk and potatoes, despite being made of natural materials.

The biodegradable bags have been approved for use as waste food caddy liners, and carry the seedling logo certifiying that they turn into compost along with food waste.

According to the Co-operative, the bags are cheaper than buying a roll of compostable food waste bin liners.

 The bags have been trialled in several areas in the country. They will now be put into around 400 Co-operative Food stores in 81 English local authority areas where householders are required to use compostable bags for food waste.

The Co-operative Food's Environment Manager Iain Ferguson said: “Every compostable carrier bag used is one less conventional plastic shopping bag in circulation.

"We believe they will have a significant impact upon the number of plastic bags which end up in landfill sites every year."

He added: "Our aim is to enable our customers to recycle more of the products they buy from us - from the leftover food and packaging, right through to the bag they use to carry their shopping home."

The new bags come as the supermarket chain attempts to cut the numbers of single-use plastic carrier bags in the UK. It reported that its food stores used 64% less bags last year than in 2006.

Around eight billion single-use plastic bags are handed out in total across the UK each year.

Steve Read, Managing Director of the Somerset Waste Partnership, welcomed the initiative after the bags were trialled in the area.

"It has allowed customers to take home their shopping and then use the same bags to line their food waste caddies.

"It saves them having to buy special liners, and has encouraged more people to support our food waste collections," he said.

Additional reporting by PA