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M&S replaces plastic bags for life with paper version

Marks & Spencer has replaced plastic bags for life with paper carrier bags in an attempt to reduce its impact on the environment.

The food and clothing retailer said the new Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper bags are now available in every one of its UK stores.

A “strong, robust” bag will be available to people taking home their food shop while a “simpler” one will be on offer in its clothing section.

They are capable of carrying more than 15kg or six four-pint bottles of milk and can be reused more than 100 times, the company said.

Natural resin applied during the manufacturing process makes them water resistant. They can also easily be folded into a backpack and can also be placed in home recycling bins.

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A team from the University of Sheffield assessed their environmental impact before launch and the bags are manufactured using renewable energy at a hydro-powered paper mill in Scandinavia.

M&S director of corporate affairs Victoria McKenzie-Gould said in a blog post: “We now have a solution that is better environmentally and which helps customers looking to make small changes to reduce their environmental footprint.

“For the vast majority who already reuse their own bags, which remains the most sustainable option, not a lot will change.

“But on the odd occasion when we all need to reach for one more bag, we’re pleased to be offering a more sustainable option for customers.”