Tesco is conducting a 10-week trial to test the impact of phasing out its 5p carrier bags.
The trial is taking place in three stores: Aberdeen, Dundee, and Norwich, and will see the stores sell just the 10p reusable Bags for Life.
Tesco currently gives the money raised through the 5p charge to charities through its Bags of Help initiative. This has seen over £27 million invested into local projects so far with more than 3,500 community groups having received grants of between £1,000-£4,000 each.
A Tesco spokesperson said:
“We are carrying out a short trial in a few stores to look at the impact on bag usage if we remove single-use carrier bags. In these stores customers who need a bag can still buy a bag for life which they can reuse.”
Commenting on the move, John Thompson of Changing Business said:
“The plastic bag levy has helped raise millions for causes and has led to a significant reduction in bag usage. Good for causes, good for the planet. Tesco’s move towards potentially scrapping single use bags has to be welcomed from an environmental perspective, and I’d expect other retailers to follow suit if its trial is successful. If so, I hope Tesco continues to support causes through the proceeds of Bags for Life sales, but feel charities benefitting from such schemes should start planning for a sizeable reduction in income now.”
The plastic bag charge was introduced in October 2015 in England, and requires large retailers to charge 5p per single use plastic carrier bag. In July 2016, DEFRA reported that shoppers were set to take home six billion fewer plastic bags last year by shoppers in England while over £29 million had been donated to good causes as a result of the 5p charge. H&M recently reported that it had raised £1m for Unicef UK through the sales of its plastic carrier bags since the charge was introduced.
Main image: © i-Images Picture Agency. Picture by Andrew Parsons / i-Images
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