Source: Iceland

Iceland is trialling ditching plastic carrier bags altogether in a single-store initiative.

The branch in London’s Hackney is instead offering new “extra-strong” 15p paper carrier bags, alongside a lighter-weight 10p paper bag and £1 jute or cotton options.

Small paper bags for meat products are also available, providing a “complete range of plastic-free options”, an Iceland spokesman said.

The new 15p paper bag is also to be offered as an alternative option alongside plastic bags for life in a separate trial involving 40 stores.

Both trials are to run for six months starting today (25 July). Together they’re expected to save nearly 210,000 plastic carrier bags, according to Iceland.

The new paper bag option is initially in 25 stores in North Wales, Wirral and Cheshire, to be extended to a further 15 in the Manchester area from 10 August. The aim is to “monitor consumer preference”, the spokesman said.

The trials are to be used to inform Iceland’s long-term approach to plastic reduction, which includes the commitment made last year to remove it from own-label packaging by the end of 2023.

Iceland MD Richard Walker said: “We know that many customers are using bags for life only once and the retail industry needs to work together to challenge this behaviour and find alternative solutions. Over 1.2 billion plastic bags for life were sold last year in the UK and this needs to change drastically.

“These trials will help us understand how our customers feel about removing one of the most common objects associated with plastic, the supermarket carrier bag, and how they respond to various alternatives. We’re looking forward to seeing how customers respond and using the results of the trials in our wider plans to reduce our plastic footprint.”