Since 2015, all major stores have been obliged to level a 5p fee on single-use plastic bags. It’s a move that raised more than £51 million for good causes during 2017 and 2018 alone, and we’ve seen the number of single-use plastic bags drop dramatically – in fact, it has been estimated that the 5p charge has resulted in an 86% fall in plastic bag usage at major UK supermarkets.
As the nation has turned away from plastic bags, we’ve seen more and more businesses decide to get rid of them altogether, and Boots is the latest one to take the pledge. Hoping to entirely replace plastic bags by early 2020, they’ve started to switch out plastic carrier bags for paper alternatives.
It’s a move that should save up to 900 tonnes of plastic a year. At first, paper bags are being rolled out in only 53 of the chain’s 2,485 stores, but that’s just the beginning. As summed up by Boots UK director of marketing, Helen Normoyle:
“We have seen a significant shift in our customers’ attitudes towards plastics and recycling in recent years – there’s never been a more important time to show our customers that we’re taking action to reduce our impact.”
She noted that the new paper bags: “have been carefully tested to make sure that over their entire life cycle they are better for the environment, whilst still being a sturdy, practical option for customers who haven’t bought their own bags with them when shopping”.
Bags should be available in three sizes.
With this move, Boots joins a growing number of high street stores saying goodbye to plastic usage. We’ve seen Waitrose experimenting with pasta and rice vending machines to cut down on packaging and McDonald’s switching from single-use plastics to recycled cardboard.
We can’t wait to see what happens next.