Major UK Grocery Store Just Banned Single-Use Plastic Bags

Conservationists have worked hard to raise awareness about the long-lasting, far-ranging and damaging impact of our single-use plastic items. Fortunately, there have been a few victories along the way, and now, thanks to Tesco, we can celebrate another one. Tesco, the largest grocery store chain in the UK, will no longer give out single-use plastic bags.

In 2015, Tesco starting charging five pence for plastic bags in an effort to reduce waste. Since then, the company has used 1.5 billion fewer bags, but it was still using more than any other grocery store – selling over 700 million plastic bags to customers every year.

Now, however, Tesco has banned them entirely from its stores and will only be offering reusable bags, otherwise known as Bags for Life, which are made out of 94 percent recycled plastic, for 10 pence each. The store has also vowed to replace them for free if they become damaged or worn out.

According to Tesco, the official announcement follows a 10-week trial at select locations, where the company found a 25 percent reduction in the sale of bags, and that customers found the change helped them move to using reusable bags.

“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,” said Matt Davies, UK and ROI CEO at Tesco.

Tesco had previously used the money raised from bag fees for grants that support community-based projects through its Bags of Help program, and will continue to use money raised from the reusable bags to support it.

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Since we introduced the 5p charge in 2015, the number of single-use plastic bags taken home has plummeted by 83%,” Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey added. “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.”

Hopefully the change will have a positive impact on the environment, help raise much-needed awareness about the problem of plastic pollution, and encourage more people to ditch single-use plastic items for reusable alternatives.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

64 comments

Melania P
Melania Pabout a year ago

Awesome! I wish more people, voluntarily, did not use plastic bags. I carry my own fabric, reusable bags.

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Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thank you.

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John W
John Wabout a year ago

Well done Tesco!

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson1 years ago

great, ty

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson1 years ago

great, ty

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson1 years ago

great, ty

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Lisa M
Lisa M1 years ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M1 years ago

Thanks.

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Lynne B
Lynne B1 years ago

I haven't used plastic carrier bags for over twenty years. When uk supermarkets started selling jute bags for a pound I bought them. They go on for years.

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Angela K
Angela K1 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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