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Morrisons brings back paper bags for groceries to cut out plastic

Matthew Field
Morrisons - Bloomberg

Morrisons is bringing back traditional brown paper bags for groceries as the latest high street brand to join the war on plastic.

The paper bags will replace plastic for loose fruit and vegetables in stores, while Morrisons will also encourage customers to bring in their own containers for its butcher and fishmonger counters.

The supermarket said the initiative will save 150 million plastic bags every year. The paper grocery bags, made from recycled paper, will be arriving in stores through the summer.

Morrisons will also offer 100 loyalty points every time customers use their own containers when buying meat and fish.

The move away from plastic makes Morrisons the latest brand name to take on the war on plastic. Growing public and political concerns about plastic pollution, spurred by environmental documentaries such as the BBC’s Blue Planet II, have seen more brands taking a stand against plastic.

Morrisons fruit and veg director Drew Kirk said customers concerns about plastic bags for loose groceries had led the supermarket to return to the traditional paper sacks used in greengrocers. Morrisons said it has committed to ensure all plastic in its stores in recycled, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Morrisons is bringing back traditional brown paper bags

So far this year, high street food and coffee chains including McDonald’s and Starbucks have both said they will try to phase out plastic straws. McDonald’s is trialing paper straws while Starbucks said it will remove all plastic straws and cutlery and ask customers to request them.

In January, Prime Minister Theresa May floated the idea of plastic-free supermarket aisles, where all goods are sold loose or in recyclable or re-usable containers.

The Government has launched a drive to reduce the use of plastic straws, stirrers, bags and more after David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II captured public attention last year.

The broadcaster dedicated an hour-long episode of the BBC documentary to environmental damage on marine life, showing a turtle tangled in a plastic bag and a dead pilot whale calf poisoned by ocean pollution.