Morrisons hikes price of plastic bags and offers 20p paper version

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Morrisons is hiking the price of long-life plastic bags to 15p and introducing a paper version costing 20p as part of a trial.

The supermarket said the eight-week trial at eight stores is in response to customers saying that reducing plastic is its top environmental concern.

Morrisons removed 5p carrier bags early in 2018 which led to a 25 per cent reduction in overall bag sales.

As part of the trial, the supermarket is increasing the price of its standard plastic ‘bags for life’ from 10p to 15p.

The new US-style paper grocery bags, priced at 20p, have handles and are a similar capacity to standard plastic carrier bags.

Morrisons confirmed that the stores participating in the trial are Camden, Skipton, Wood Green, Hunslet, Yeadon, Erskine, Gibraltar and Abergavenny.

Andy Atkinson, Group Customer and Marketing Director, at Morrisons said: “Customers want us to help them reduce the amount of plastic they have in their lives. These new paper bags do exactly the same job as standard plastic carrier bags. They are tough, reusable and can help keep a large amount of plastic out of the environment.”

The 5p single use bag tax, which encourages retailers to donate the proceeds of plastic bag sales to good causes, was introduced in Scotland in 2014 in a bid to stamp out widespread use.

The levy was also introduced in England from 2015 and similar schemes run in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has set up a consultation that ends next month on raising the fee to 10p and including smaller retailers, which could come into effect from January 2020.

Conservation charities have called on the Scottish Government to double the mandatory charge for a single use carrier bag to 10p following in the footsteps of the UK government.

The charge has been successful in Scotland with figures showing a bag reduction of 85 to 90 per cent. Figures from the government at the end of 2018 showed a seventy per cent reduction in bags sold south of the Border.