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Tesco to scrap 5p carrier bags replacing them with 'bags for life'

Shoppers at Tesco will no longer have the option to buy 5p carrier bags in-store as the supermarket cuts back on plastic waste

Shafi Musaddique
Monday 07 August 2017 12:37 BST
Tesco customers will no longer have a 5p carrier bag option from the end of August
Tesco customers will no longer have a 5p carrier bag option from the end of August (Reuters)

Tesco is set to scrap 5p plastic carrier bags and replace its cheapest alternative with the more expensive “bags for life” at the end of August.

Shoppers will have to bring their own bags or opt for the bag for life from the 28 August onwards, replaceable for free if damaged says the supermarket.

It will introduce the 10p bag made from 94 per cent recycled plastic after a recent ten-week trial it conducted in Aberdeen, Dundee and Norwich found the sale of single carrier bags fell by a quarter when customers found a longer lasting alternative.

The new options will now be rolled out across the UK as it follows rival supermarket chain Sainsburys in a bid to reduce litter and the amount of bags sent to land refill.

Shoppers online are still able to opt-in single use carrier bags or select delivery without plastic bags, which more than half of Tesco’s customers are currently doing.

Matt Davies, chief executive at Tesco UK and Republic of Ireland, said:

“Today’s move will help our customers use even fewer bags but ensure that those sold in our stores continue to fund thousands of community projects across the country chosen by customers. It’s the right thing to do for the environment and for local communities.”

Environment minister Thérèse Coffey added: “I welcome Tesco wanting to go further and help their customers use even fewer plastic bags. The switch to a bag for life will continue to help reduce litter and boost recycling – helping to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.”

The Government introduced a 5p charge for plastic bags in October 2015, suggesting retailers should pass on the money to charities and non-profits.

The Government said that retailers must keep track of how many plastic bags they’ve given out and where the proceeds have gone.

The majority of supermarkets have passed on money made from carrier bag sales to charities since the change.

Whilst many have welcomed the carrier bag policy since its inception in 2015, a survey last year suggested more than a quarter of customers said they didn’t want to pay the 5p charge because it “was a waste of money”, with 22 per cent of customers claiming to steal carrier bags because they thought they would go unnoticed.

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