British supermarket chain Co-op has committed to stop providing single-use plastic carrier bags to customers across its stores.
The decision is part of Co-op’s plans to tackle plastic pollution and food waste. The phase-out covers removing own-brand plastic products and reducing the use of plastic packaging within five years.
As part of the commitment, the retailer expects to remove around 60 million plastic carrier bags in a phased rollout.
It will offer an environmentally friendly alternative such as lightweight compostable carrier bags across its 1,400 food stores in towns, cities and villages allowing customers to carry products and re-used them as food waste caddy liners.
The change will initially be in stores where compostable carriers are accepted in food waste collections.
Co-op retail chief executive Jo Whitfield said: “The price of food wrapped in plastic has become too much to swallow and, from today, the Co-op will phase out any packaging which cannot be reused.
“The first step to remove single-use plastic, will be to launch compostable carrier bags in our stores. They are a simple but ingenious way to provide an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic shopping bags.”
In addition, the retailer has committed to use a minimum of 50% recycled plastic in bottles, pots, trays and punnets by 2021.
It will also eliminate all own-brand black and dark plastic packaging including black ready meal trays by 2020.