If, like us, you often feel a little helpless when it comes to plastic waste and the awful impact it’s having on the environment. You’ll be thrilled to hear that one of the high streets biggest, and best loved stores is completely banning all plastic bags in store.
Boots have already begun phasing out plastic bags from their stores and from 2020, which is just six months away, will be entirely plastic bag free.
That means that an incredible 40 million plastic bags and 900 tonnes of single-use plastic will be entirely removed from use.
From next Monday (July 1st) Boots will no longer offer or provide any plastic bags at checkouts and will instead offer three different sized paper alternatives instead. Whilst these bags won’t fall under the plastic bag tax (a policy you’ll be familiar with, where the government requires retailers to charge customers 5p per bag) these will cost, depending upon size, 5p, 7p or 10p. With all profits being donated to BBC Children in Need.
— BBC Children in Need (@BBCCiN) June 24, 2019
Whilst Greenpeace have happily welcomed this positive move forward they were cautious to note that the most positive impact would be down to customers shopping with their own reusable bags. With Louise Edge, head of Greenpeace UK’s ocean plastics campaign telling The Guardian that “its great to see a major high street brand like Boots listening to public concerns and ditching plastic bags.”
“But retailers need to be careful that by swapping plastic for paper they don’t end up shifting the problem from our oceans to our forests. This is why as well as looking for new materials for their carrier bags, high street chains should also encourage their customers to bring their own reusable bags and truly tackle the throwaway culture that’s damaging our living world.”
— Boots (@BootsUK) June 24, 2019
According to the data showcased within the governments research and analysis upon single-use plastic carrier bags for 2017 and 2018 other key retailers, including the seven major supermarkets (Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, The Cooperative and Waitrose in England show a dramatic decrease in plastic bag sales. With a decrease of 289 million bags in 2017 to 2018.
The data breaks this year-on-year information down showcasing that, in 2014 – the year the plastic bag tax was introduced – that 140 bags per person in the population were used. This went down to 24 bags per person in 2016-2017, decreasing further to 19 bags per person in 2017-2018.
Tesco’s were mostly responsible for the vast majority of this decrease, halving their use of single-use plastic bags from 637 million in 2016-2017 to 333 million in 2017-2018.
Whilst there’s still a long way to go, it’s wonderful to see the biggest brands responding to consumer and environmental demands. And, a personal reminder to take your own reusable bags with you to your weekly food shop as it’s truly making a difference.