Tesco replaces 5p carrier bags with ‘Bag for Life’

Tesco has announced that from 28 August single use carrier bags will be replaced by a new ‘Bag for Life’ made from 94% recycled plastic. The new bag will be priced at 10p and sales of the bag will fund community projects across Britain.

The announcement follows a successful 10-week trial in Aberdeen, Dundee and Norwich, where Tesco found that customers bought significantly fewer bags. Sales of bags in trial stores have reduced by 25% and customers found that the ‘Bag for Life’ helped them move to re-useable bags.

Since the introduction of the carrier bag charge in England in 2015, the supermarket giant has given out 1.5 billion fewer single use bags, but still sells over 700 million of these each year. Removing single use carrier bags should significantly reduce the number of bags sold and will therefore help reduce litter and bags sent to landfill.

Online customers will still be able to opt for single use carrier bags for their shopping or select a ‘bag-less delivery’, which 57% of Tesco’s online customers are now doing.

Matt Davies, UK and ROI chief executive, Tesco, said: “The number of bags being bought by our customers has already reduced dramatically. 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.”

Fiona Cincotta, market analyst at City Index welcomed the move saying, “This removal of 5p carrier bags in-store will definitely help customers cut down on the unnecessary purchase and litter, it is the right thing to do both for the community and the environment.”

“However over time consumers could end up spending more money by purchasing the 10p carrier bag if they continue to be forgetful when heading out for their shopping,” she added. “This move could be great for the community as sales for the more expensive ‘Bags for Life’ help fund community projects.”