Tesco is about to take the environmentally friendly step of scrapping single-use 5p plastic bags. The supermarket giant wants to ensure shoppers use fewer bags, reducing litter and the amount of plastic sent to landfill.
From 28th August, people will have to buy 10p bags for life instead, which are made from 94% recycled plastic and can be swapped for free when they break, the BBC reported. Sales from the pricier, longer-lasting bags also fund community projects, so it's a double win for the greater good.
The move follows a trial by the supermarket in its Aberdeen, Dundee and Norwich stores, which saw bag sales fall by a quarter. Tesco sells the highest number of plastic bags of all the country's major supermarkets, so let's hope the others follow suit.
Shoppers across the UK have faced charges for plastic bags since October 2015 and the move has been hugely successful at reducing the number of bags sold. England, the last country to introduce the charge, saw a staggering 83% drop.
Tesco shoppers will still have the option of choosing single-use bags when they shop online, but the supermarket says over half already opt for bagless delivery.
Matt Davies, the supermarket's UK and Irish Republic chief executive, said the policy will encourage customers to "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." Tesco has donated £33m to more than 6,400 groups thanks to its bags for life scheme, the BBC reported.
Greenpeace UK welcomed the move, with its senior campaigner Louise Edge saying "We’ve seen plastic as something to be used once and thrown away" for too long. "There is no such place as 'away' – and millions of tonnes of plastic are ending up in our rivers, beaches, streets and in the sea every year, harming marine life."
She added: "All companies and retailers need to be looking at how they can drastically reduce their plastic footprint, from major soft drinks companies moving away from single-use plastic bottles, to supermarkets scrapping unnecessary packaging and taking concrete steps like introducing plastic-free aisles. It’s clear that if we’re going to protect our oceans we need to end the age of throwaway plastic," The Telegraph reported.
Time to invest in a bag for life or, even better, an environmentally friendly tote. Because can you ever have enough tote bags? We think not.