Morrisons Trial Paper Carrier Bags in a Bid to Ditch Plastic

UK supermarket giant Morrisons is trialling a new initiative which could see the retailer ditching all plastic bags, including ‘bags for life’.

Later this month, Morrisons will offer strong paper bags as an alternative to reusable plastic ones in eight of it 494 stores.  If the trials prove successful, then it could move to roll out the paper bags across the whole chain.

The bags have handles and are designed to carry groceries weighing up to 16kg. Morrisons say each bag can carry up to 13 bottles of wine, which is the same as their plastic bags for life can hold.

The move comes as the big supermarkets all strive to reduce their use of plastics, with Waitrose announcing they will be planning a trial to remove bags for life later this year.

Sainsbury’s and Tesco have both taken action to reduce the use of plastic, but currently have no plans to remove bags for life from their stores. Tesco bags are manufactured from 100% recycled plastics and are fully recyclable. They do not use plastic bags for their online delivery services after a trial to remove them proved successful last year.

Sainsbury’s have a similar policy, but their bagless delivery trial is currently on hold due to the pandemic.

Morrisons say there is evidence that plastic bags for life are used only once before being thrown away. By replacing all of the bags for life in store with a paper alternative, the grocer predicts they would remove 90 million plastic bags from circulation each year. This equates to over 3,500 tonnes of plastic annually.

Morrisons’ chief executive, David Potts, said: “We believe customers are ready to stop using plastic carrier bags as they want to reduce the amount of plastic they have in their lives and keep it out of the environment.

“We know that many are taking reusable bags back to store and, if they forget these, we have paper bags that are tough, convenient and a re-useable alternative.”

Supermarkets across England have been charging for plastics bags since 2015, after a 5p charge was levied by the government to reduce the use of single-use carriers.