Co-op Removes Bags-For-Life From All 2,600 Stores

Co-op has announced that they will be removing bags-for-life from all of their supermarkets, warning that they are becoming the new single-user carrier. The retailer has warned others that the carrier bags are creating a huge problem, with the carrier contributing to the ever-growing plastic pollution issue we are facing. The plastic bags will be removed from sale across all 2,600 stores, providing a replacement of compostable bags which will equally be low-cost for shoppers. Co-op has reported that this innovative new scheme will remove 29.5 million bags-for-life from stores each year, weighing around 870 tonnes of plastic.

Comments From The Retailer

In 2021, we want to make it easier than ever for our customers to do their bit for their community and the planet. At Co-op, we believe that lots of small ​changes can make a huge impact – and there’s no better time to start than today.” - The Co-Op

The Impact Plastic Bags Have On The Planet

Plastic bags-for-life use a considerable amount more plastic during production than other single-use carriers. If these bags are not properly disposed of, they can find their way into the environment and landfills; killing wildlife and contaminating soils. Plastic bags have been reported to take up to 300 years to photodegrade, breaking down into micro toxic particles that enter our waterways and food chain for years to come. 

Co-op’s Recommendations To Combat The Issue

The Co-op is urging the government to call for a policy on all large supermarkets and retailers to provide reports on the use of single-use and reusable bags. This is so that data can be collected and we can track the real impact that these carriers are having on the planet. Co-op is also asking for all single-use carrier bags to be certified compostable, along with the introduction of a 50p price for reusable bags. This will add a higher value for customers, becoming more encouraged to make use of the bag time and time again.

Benefits Of Using Compostable Bags

The benefits of introducing compostable bags into supermarkets are endless. Unlike plastic production, this biodegradable replacement will not produce a huge amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere during manufacturing. As this bag will break down naturally and quickly, whilst it decomposes into the soil they emit no toxins that will damage the planet. Not only can they decompose safely, but are also easily recycled due to the nature of the materials used in creating the product.

Jo Whitfield, CEO, Co-op Food:

“To help tackle plastic pollution and the use of unnecessary plastic, we will be ceasing the sale of Bags for Life when current stocks are exhausted. We’re also ensuring all of our members and customers have access to a low price point option that’s more environmentally friendly, alongside more durable bags at a higher price point.”