Tesco has today announced that from 28 August single use carrier bags will be replaced by a new ‘Bag for Life’ made from 94% recycled plastic. The new bag will be priced at 10p and sales of the bag will fund community projects across Britain.
The announcement follows a successful 10-week trial in Aberdeen, Dundee and Norwich, where Tesco found that customers bought significantly fewer bags. Sales of bags in trial stores have since reduced by 25% and customers found that the Bag for Life, which is replaceable for free if damaged, helped them move to re-useable bags.
Tesco has given out 1.5 billion fewer single use bags since the introduction of the carrier bag charge in England in 2015, but still sells over 700 million of these each year. Removing single use carrier bags will significantly reduce the number of bags sold and will therefore help reduce litter and bags sent to landfill.
Online customers will still be able to opt for single use carrier bags for their shopping or select a bagless delivery, which 57% of Tesco’s online customers are now doing. Tesco also revealed today that it will be removing single-use wine carriers and lowering the price of its ‘Carry me bottle bag’ from £1 to 40p.
The new Bag for Life will continue to fund Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme, which is delivered with Groundwork, and sees local community projects across Great Britain awarded grants, with Tesco customers voting for their favourite local project by picking up a blue token at the checkout each time they shop. Since launching in 2015, Bags of Help has provided more than £33 million to over 6,400 local community projects. The scheme has until now been funded through the levy placed on single-use bags.
Matt Davies, UK and ROI 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. It’s the right thing to do for the environment and for local communities.”
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey added:
“Since we introduced the 5p charge in 2015, the number of single-use plastic bags taken home has plummeted by 83%.
“I welcome Tesco wanting to go further and help their customers use even fewer plastic bags. 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.”
Since launching in 2015, Bags of Help has provided more than £33 million to over 6,400 local community projects, including:
• Robert Kett Primary School in Wymondham, which was awarded a £10K grant from Bags of Help to transform a double decker bus into a library for pupils to visit during playtimes to sample the books or take part in creative activities including Lego, painting and knitting.
• Grove Park Surgery in Hounslow, who received £5,000 to develop a therapeutic garden for patients with chronic illness or who are socially isolated to grow fruit and vegetables.
• Bedworth United Football Club in Bedworth, who were awarded nearly £3,000 to install a training pitch to allow more coaching facilities for young people.
Commenting on Bags of Help Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s Chief Executive, said:
“Since it launched in 2015 Bags of Help has had an incredible impact on the environment – through the reduction of carrier bags used in Tesco stores and by providing funding for community groups to develop local projects that benefit the people and the places where they live.
“This step will see those environmental benefits increase, and we’re delighted that communities will continue to be able to access Bags of Help funding.”
Community groups and charities can apply for Bags of Help funding and Tesco customers can nominate projects they’d like to see receive some cash. Visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp to find out more.