The move follows a successful 10-week trial in Aberdeen, Dundee and Norwich that led to a 25% cut in single-use carrier bag sales.
Made from 94% recycled plastic, the new bags will be exchanged for free when damaged. Online shoppers can still opt for single use carrier bags or select a bagless delivery which, Tesco says, 57% of customers already do.
The supermarket chain will also be removing single-use wine carriers and lowering the price of its ‘Carry me bottle bag’ from £1 to 40p.
Tesco has given out 1.5 billion fewer single use bags since the introduction of the carrier bag charge in England in 2015, but still sells over 700 million each year. It said that removing single use carrier bags will significantly reduce the number of bags sold and will therefore help reduce litter and bags sent to landfill.
The retailer will continue to fund its local community grant scheme Bags of Help through the sale of the new bag. Customers vote for their favourite local community project by picking up a blue token at the checkout each time they shop.
Since launching Bags of Help in 2015, the retailer has provided more than £33 million in grants to over 6,400 projects. The initiative has, until now, been funded through the levy placed on single-use bags.
An example is Robert Kett Primary School in the Norfolk town of Wymondham, which was awarded a £10,000 grant to transform a double decker bus into a library for pupils to visit during playtimes to sample the books or take part in creative activities including Lego, painting and knitting.
Matt Davies, UK and Irish Republic ceo at Tesco, said: “The number of bags being bought by our customers has already reduced dramatically. This move will not only 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.”
Community groups and charities can apply for Bags of Help funding and Tesco customers can nominate projects they’d like to see receive some cash. Visit www.tesco.com/carrier-bags/ to find out more.
A £10,000 grant from Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme was used to transform a double decker bus into a library for pupils of Robert Kett Primary School in the Norfolk town of Wymondham