Supermarket Asda is to stop selling single-use 5p carrier bags by the end of the year as it bids to reduce plastic and waste.
Large retailers in England have been required by law to charge 5p for single-use carrier bags since October 2015. There are plans to extend these rules to cover all retailers, but no date has yet been set. Similar rules already exist in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
However, Asda is going one step further and phasing out single-use carrier bags across the UK by the end of 2018.
Customers will instead be required to purchase a 9p ‘bag for life’ if they do not have any bags of their own. All profits from the sale of these bags for life will continue to be donated to good causes and shoppers will still be able to exchange damanged bags for new ones as they can now.
The supermarket is also making other environmentally friendly changes, such as replacing the polystyrene bases in its pizzas with cardboard and switching from using plastic to paper straws in its cafes.
It has committed to making all of its own brand packaging fully recyclable by 2025.
Asda follows in the footsteps of rival Tesco, which announced in August 2017 it would also stop selling 5p single-use carrier bags, replacing them with 10p bags for life.
Asda chief executive Roger Burnley says: “I want Asda’s customers to know that they can trust us to take the lead on the issues that really matter to them. So we have challenged ourselves to look at what more we can do to reduce the amount of plastic in our business and within our sector as a whole.
“We have an established track record in this area already, having committed to making sure that all our own brand packaging is recyclable by 2025. We have taken steps such as reducing the amount of plastic in our water bottles and removing harmful microbeads from all our own brand cosmetics.
“We’re also going to phase out single-use carrier bags from our stores by the end of the year but we’ll continue donating to good causes using any profit from the sale of Asda bags for life."