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Tesco bins 5p plastic carrier bags forever - now you'll have to get a bag for life

Tesco's 5p plastic bags will soon disappear from the supermarket (Simon Dawson/Getty Images)
Tesco’s 5p plastic bags will soon disappear from the supermarket (Simon Dawson/Getty Images)

Tesco is ditching its 5p carrier bags – meaning forgetful shoppers will now have to pay 10p for a ‘bag for life’.

Britain’s biggest supermarket says it sells some 700 million single use plastic bags every year – but that will come to an end on August 28.

From then, anyone who visits a store without their own bags and needs to buy one will have to get a more durable, and expensive, bag.

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Tesco says the decision follows a successful 10-week trial at three stores – Dundee, Aberdeen and Norwich – which saw a 25% cut in bag sales. Tesco recently became the first chain to scrap the so-called tampon tax.

Matt Davies, UK and Republic of Ireland CEO at Tesco, 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.

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“It’s the right thing to do for the environment and for local communities.”

The news was greeted positively on social media, with many praising the supermarket for binning the bags.

Supermarkets were forced to charge for single use bags from October 2015; Tesco says it hands out some 1.5 billion fewer since the change and there has been an 83% drop across the industry in plastic carrier bags.

The move at Tesco stores across the UK, echoes that of Sainsbury’s. The more expensive bags are made from 94% recycled plastic and will be exchanged without charge when damaged, the supermarket says.

At present, money raised from the sale of plastic bags goes to various community groups and this will continue, said Tesco, from proceeds raised through the bags for life. Tesco says about £33m has been channelled to more than 6,400 good causes.

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Online shoppers can still opt to receive their deliveries in single-use carrier bags after store sales end although just over half already choose a bagless delivery.

Tesco also revealed it would be removing single-use wine carriers and lowering the price of its ‘Carry me bottle bag’ from £1 to 40p.

Environment minister Thérèse Coffey welcomed the Tesco move. “The switch to a Bag for Life will continue to help reduce litter and boost recycling – helping to leave the environment in a better state than we found it,” she said.

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