The East of England Co-operative Society and Plymouth & South West Co-operative Society have announced plans to reduce carrier bag usage in their stores.

The East of England Co-op, which operates 135 food stores across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, will trial a 6p charge for a home-compostable carrier bag made from polyester and cornstarch in five stores.

It will also remove standard plastic carrier bags from the tills of all of its food stores and staff will control how many are given out to customers. The trial is expected to last for six to eight weeks and if successful will be rolled out across East of England Co-op's estate.

"We have been considering this issue for some time, but there has been a definite change in people's attitudes towards plastic bags in recent months and we believe now is the right time to make this leap forward," said East of England Co-op CEO Richard Samson.

Meanwhile, Plymouth & South West Co-op has removed self-service plastic carrier bag dispensers from all its stores to mark the first anniversary of Modbury in Devon becoming the UK's first plastic-bag-free village. Customers will have to either ask for a free bag or purchase bags for life or compostable carrier bags. The society already has seven carrier-bag-free stores.

The initiatives came in the same week M&S rolled out a 5p charge for carrier bags across its food stores. In the last month M&S has given away 15 million reusable bags to customers across the UK in preparation for the charge.