Morrisons launches bold strategy to cut plastic bag use

Posted by Isobel Drake on 21st May 2008

Morrisons, the UK’s fourth biggest grocery retailer, is hoping to reduce the number of plastic bags given out in their stores by 50 million with the launch of a campaign to provide 10 million free reusable bags to their customers.

From Monday, May 19th, the UK supermarket chain will give away the reusable bags – made from 100% recycled material and larger than standard bags.

The new initiative, timed to coincide with the build up to the busy Bank Holiday weekend, will also see shoppers offered the chance to buy Morrisons new multi-trip charity bag for 10 pence, with a contribution going to Help The Aged and Childline, the company’s Charity of the Year partnership.

Morrisons aims to encourage customers to use the reusable carriers on every shop, giving a potential saving of around 12m standard bags each week, according to the company. “By encouraging customers to reuse their shopping bags we’ve already cut the number of bags by 110m. But we want to do more,” Angus Maciver, Morrisons Group Marketing and Communications Director, claimed. “We believe this new initiative could cut bag use much further – possibly by as much as 50m bags a month – and will help continue to reduce the environmental impact of carrier bags. By giving away these bags today, we can make a real difference for tomorrow.”

“We believe that the best way to encourage our customers to use fewer bags is by offering larger re-usable bags as an alternative. Other measures we’ve brought in include providing cardboard boxes at our checkouts as an alternative,” he concluded.

The issue of plastic grocery bags has been a hot issue in Australia over recent years and the Greens Party has recently introduced a proposal of a 25c levy on plastic bags to the senate. The South Australian Government, meanwhile, has already committed to a statewide ban on plastic bags by January with the Victorian, WA and ACT Governments all planning or contemplating the trial of a plastic bag levy.