Tesco scraps plastic bags in favour of 'bags for life'

Tesco is to stop selling single-use plastic bags in its stores, replacing them with "bags for life" at double the price.

From August 28, 5p plastic bags will no longer be available at Tesco's checkouts.

The new 10p bags will be made of 94% recycled plastic and can be exchanged for a new one if damaged.

Matt Davies, chief executive of Tesco UK, said: "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."

  • Why has Tesco axed plastic bags?

Tesco's decision follows a trial in Aberdeen, Dundee and Norwich, where they found that bag sales reduced by 25% as customers opted to bring their own from home.

In October 2015, the government ordered major retailers in England to stop giving away single use bags for free - and demanded that proceeds go to charity.

Tesco will replace 5p plastic bags with Bags for Life costing 10p. Credit: Tesco

Tesco's own Bags of Help scheme has provided £33 million to 6,400 local community projects since 2015 despite the store giving out 1.5 billion fewer single use bags in that time.

Early figures collected in 2016 showed that customers in England took home six billion fewer bags in the first six months after the rule change.

At the end of 2016, the Marine Conservation Society said the number of bags found on British beaches had almost halved since the policy was introduced.

  • What are other stores doing?

Lidl replaced single use bags with 5p reusable ones in July of this year.

Sainsbury's 5p version is reusable and recyclable.

Waitrose still offers 5p single use bags and 10p bags for life.

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."