A supermarket chain is to ban single-use plastic bags at their stores across the borough and replace them with compostable alternatives within five years.
Today (22), the Co-op announced the move as part of plans to end single-use plastic in stores.
It wants to remove 60 million plastic carrier bags in a phased rollout and replace them with an environmentally-friendly alternative.
In place of the plastic bags will be a lightweight compostable alternative, which can be used to carry shopping home and then be reused as food waste caddy liners.
The new bags will be of the same size and strength as their plastic predecessor and also cost 5p.
These will be rolled out to almost 1,400 Co-op food stores, initially in towns, cities and villages where the bags are accepted in food waste collections.
The Co-op’s pledge on plastic will see all its own-brand packaging become easy to recycle by 2023. It has promised to use a minimum of 50% recycled plastic in bottles, pots, trays and punnets by 2021.
All own-brand black and dark plastic packaging, including black ready meal trays, will be eliminated by 2020.
Jo Whitfield, Retail Chief Executive, Co-op, 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.”
She added: “Our ban on single-use plastic is central to our new ethical blue-print. The Co-op was founded on righting wrongs, and we first campaigned to stop food fraud. Now we face huge global challenges and have created a recipe for sustainability to source responsibly, treat people with fairness and produce products which have minimal impact on the planet.