Video report by ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi
Retail giant Boots has vowed to ditch plastic bags in all its stores by next year, replacing them with paper ones.
The company said 53 stores will lose plastic bags at checkouts from Monday, with all 2,485 sites only offering customers paper bags from early next year.
However, Boots will continue to charge customers for the new unbleached brown bags, despite them not falling under the plastic bag tax.
The decision means 900 tonnes of plastic will be removed from stores as a result.
Hundreds of companies have already made pledges to cut back the amount of plastic and packaging they use.
Boots' announcement that it will replace plastic bags with paper ones has been met with worries from some that paper just isn't strong enough, and it seems that this issue has been around for decades. To test out just how strong paper bags were, the good people of 1953 put boxer Freddie Mills inside a giant one to test out just how durable it was.
Other plastic pledges:
Earlier this month, Waitrose unveiled a new “plastic-free” store, McDonald’s is replacing plastic straws with paper ones, and supermarket Iceland has promised to end plastic packaging from own-label products by 2023.
Starbucks has joined in too, promising to ditch plastic straws by 2020, a pledge that it says will eliminate the use of more than one billion plastic straws per year.
The firm that owns Guinness is also moving to stop using plastic, with Diageo announcing that plasticring carriers and shrink wrap will be removed from multipacks by 2020.
But companies aren't the only ones moving to eradicate single-use plastics, governments too are joining in.
Canada recently pledged to ban single-use plastics by 2021 after the European Union approved legislation promising the same thing.
The British government has also made a pledge to ban plastic straws, plastic drinks stirrers and plastic cotton buds in England from April 2020.
It comes as part of a worldwide push to cut single-use plastics which are damaging the environment and killing animals.
Is paper a good replacement for plastic?
Despite the evidence against plastic being so striking, it appears many people don't see paper as the ideal replacement.
Since McDonald's replaced its plastic straws, customers have complained about paper straws being less durable and unpleasant to use.
With paper bags there is the less trivial matter of them becoming useless as soon as it begins to rain.
Despite the complaints over paper, the pledge by Boots and many other companies is generally being seen as a positive change.
What Boots have said:
Boots Managing director Seb James said: "Plastic waste is undoubtedly one of the most important issues" facing the planet today, adding how "TV shows like Blue Planet" are highlighting the effects of plastic pollution.
He went on: “This year, we are transforming Boots as we celebrate 170 years, and the move to unbleached paper bags is another pivotal moment in that journey. There is no doubt that our customers expect us to act and this change signifies a huge step away from our reliance on plastic.”
Helen Normoyle, director of marketing at Boots, said: “Our new paper bags have been carefully tested to make sure that, over their entire lifecycle, they are better for the environment, whilst still being a sturdy, practical option for customers who haven’t brought their own bags with them when shopping.”
The recycled brown bags cost 5p, 7p and 10p, depending on size, and the company said all profits will be donated to BBC Children in Need.
The boots 53 Boots stores stopping plastic bags from Monday, June 24:
Nottingham Victoria Centre
Derby Intu Shopping Centre
Sheffield Meadowhall Shopping Centre
Cambridge Petty Cury,
Peterborough Queensgate Centre
Manchester Trafford Centre
London Canary Wharf Canada
Milton Keynes Crown Walk,
Exeter High Street
Cardiff Queen Street
Oxford Cornmarket Street
Plymouth Drake Circus
Belfast Donegal Place
Edinburgh 101 Princes Street
Aberdeen Bon Accord Centre
Newcastle Eldon Square
London Sedley Place
London Brent Cross Shopping Centre
London Liverpool St Station
Watford The Harlequin
Bromley The Glades Shopping Centre
Kingston Upon Thames Union Street
Southampton Above Bar Street
West Thurrock Lakeside Shopping Centre
Brighton North Street
Jersey St Helier Queen Street
London Piccadilly Circus
Dartford Bluewater Park
London 193 Oxford Street
Liverpool Clayton Square Shopping Centre
Manchester Market Street
Birmingham High Street
Canterbury Whitefriars Shopping Centre
Chelmsford High Chelmer
London White City Shopping Centre
York 43 Coney Street
Bath Southgate Centre
London Stratford City
Dudley Merry Hill Centre
Bristol Cribbs Causeway
Reading Oracle Centre
Lincoln High Street
Gateshead Metro Centre
Salcombe Fore Street
Glasgow Braehead Centre