Morrisons supermarkets to offer 20p paper bags following successful trial

Morrisons are introducing an alternative to plastic bags at all stores. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Morrisons are introducing an alternative to plastic bags at all stores. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Morrisons is to sell 20p paper carrier bags as an alternative to plastic in all stores by next month following a successful trial.

The supermarket hopes the move will save an estimated 1,300 tonnes of plastic a year based on customer uptake during an eight-week trial across eight stores since January.

READ MORE: Calls for 10p carrier bag charge to be brought to Scotland

Welsh stores will be the first to offer paper carrier bags next week, followed by English and Scottish stores in May.

The retailer said the Welsh-made reusable and ultimately recyclable bags had a carbon footprint equivalent to its standard plastic bags, which also now cost 20p.

The paper is made from sustainably managed forests and the bags are strong enough to carry groceries weighing up to 16kg, Morrisons said.

READ MORE: Will the 10p plastic bag charge affect Scotland?

Andy Atkinson, group customer and marketing director at Morrisons, said: “We are taking another meaningful step that will remove an estimated 1,300 tonnes of plastic out of the environment each year.

“Our customers have told us that reducing plastic is their number one environmental concern so introducing the paper bag across the nation will provide another way of reducing the plastic in their lives.”

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

The 5p plastic bag levy was introduced in England in October 2015 and all large retailers have been required to introduce the charge. Similar schemes run in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Figures from the Government at the end of 2018 showed that nearly two billion 5p plastic bags were sold in the last financial year.

This is a stark reduction from 2014, when 7.6 billion carrier bags - the equivalent of 140 per person - were handed out solely by England’s seven largest supermarkets.