British retailer Waitrose & Partners has announced that it will phase out single-use plastic bags by March 2019 across all its outlets.
Plastic bags for buying fruit and vegetables will be replaced with a compostable alternative by the spring of next year.
Tor Harris, head of CSR, health and agriculture for Waitrose, said, “The removal of these bags will change the way our customers, many of whom have been asking us to do this, shop with us in the future.”
The initiative will prevent the use of 134 million plastic bags, which amount to 500 tonnes of plastic, a year.
The compostable bags will look and feel similar to their plastic counterparts.
The bags can either be home composted or disposed of in a normal bin, for decomposing in landfills.
The new bags will be put on trial at selected outlets before they replace plastic bags completely.
The move will make the retailer the first supermarket in the UK to remove fruit-and-vegetable plastic bags from all its shops.
Initially, the retailer will remove single-use plastic bags from six of its shops, commencing on 8 October.
The findings from this phase will be implemented to develop a programme to remove single-use plastics, in a phased manner, from all its outlets by March of next year.
The retailer has also committed not to sell any of its private-label food in black plastic beyond 2019.
Waitrose has removed disposable cups from more than 300 of its 348 shops, in line with its commitment to eliminate disposable coffee cups from its stores by this autumn.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.