Tesco has revealed its 5p single use carrier bags will be scrapped in favour of a 10p “Bag for Life” by the end of the month.
The new 10p bag, made from 94% recycled plastic, will be rolled out from 28 August and profits will support community projects across the UK.
The decision comes ager a 10-week trial in Aberdeen, Dundee and Norwich found that customers bought 25% fewer single use plastic bags as they switched to reusable ones instead.
“The number of bags being bought by our customers has already reduced dramatically,” said Matt Davies, UK and ROI CEO at Tesco.
“Today’s move will help our customers 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. It’s the right thing to do for the environment and for local communities.”
Environment minister Thérèse Coffey added: “Since we introduced the 5p charge in 2015, the number of single-use plastic bags taken home has plummeted by 83%. I welcome Tesco wanting to go further and help their customers use even fewer plastic bags. The switch to a Bag for Life will continue to help reduce litter and boost recycling - helping to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.”
Since the introduction of the carrier bag charge in 2015, Tesco has handed out 1.5 billion fewer single use bags, but still sell over 700 million 5p bags a year.
57% of its online customers are already selecting a bag-free delivery, and Tesco has also committed to lowering the prices of its ‘Carry me bottle bag’ from £1 to 40p and will be removing single-wine carriers.
The Bag for Life profits will go to Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme partnered with Groundwork, which has already provided more than £33 million to over 6,400 local community projects since it was established in 2015. The move follows The Grocer’s prediction in May that Tesco’s trial could signal the end of its 5p bag.
Sainsbury’s scrapped its single use bags last year in favour of a recyclable bag costing 5p and Lidl switched to a 9p recyclable bag in September, reduced to a price of 5p in July.
Other supermarkets have so far avoided committing to scrapping plastic bags. Aldi and M&S told The Grocer they had no plans to overhaul their use of 5p single use plastic bags. Morrisons said it would listen to customers on the issue and Waitrose said it was continuing to monitor the situation, although was not convinced removing single-use bags would reduce the overall amount of plastic used.
Asda, Co-op, M&S, Waitrose and Iceland did not immediately respond to The Grocer’s request for comment.