Tesco 5p bags: Green campaigners hail move to scrap plastic carriers

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Supermarket giant Tesco’s decision to scrap 5p plastic bags has been cheered by environmental groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

Campaigners said they hoped other shops would follow suit and replace single use carriers with more sustainable alternatives.

Tesco will be getting rid of 5p bags from August 28, meaning customers’ cheapest options will be a 10p ‘Bag for Life’.

Greenpeace said it was “great to see major retailers moving away from disposable plastic”.

Louise Edge, senior campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “For too long we’ve seen plastic as something to be used once and thrown away.

“But there is no such place as ‘away’ and millions of tonnes of plastic are ending up in our rivers, beaches, streets and in the sea every year, harming marine life.”

Friends of the Earth campaigner Henry Chown said: “We’re delighted Tesco is replacing disposable bags with bags for life – we hope other retailers follow suit.

“This initiative builds on the tremendous success of the government’s bag charge, which has seen a dramatic reduction in plastic bags and cut pollution in our towns, seas and countryside.

“This shows that shoppers and businesses will take positive action when the government leads. We now need similar moves to tackle disposable coffee cups and plastic bottles.”

Tesco has sold more than 700 million carrier bags a year since a mandatory 5p charge was introduced in 2015. The fee lowered usage by 1.5 million bags over two years.

Dr Sue Kinsey, senior pollution officer at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “Charging for bags has proved to significantly reduce the numbers of bags provided by retailers, clearly shown in figures across all four UK nations recently.

“We welcome this move by Tesco to try and reduce bag usage further, and are encouraged that Tesco’s brief trial appears to suggest that a significant reduction will be achieved.”

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