BRADFORD-based supermarket Morrisons is to become the first British supermarket to roll-out plastic free fruit and veg areas in many of its stores in an eco effort to save three tonnes of plastic each week.

Customers will see an entire section of the fruit and veg department with no plastic as well as a neighbouring section where customers can still buy packaged veg if they choose.

When customers buy loose fruit and veg they can either take them through the checkout loose or bag them in Morrisons recyclable paper bags.

The supermarket giant is trailblazing the way for bagless shopping after a 10 month trial in three of its stores, including Skipton and Guiseley.

The trials saw the amount of loose fruit and veg bought by customers increase by an average of 40 per cent.

Drew Kirk, fruit and veg director at Morrisons, explained more of the thinking that had brought about the initiative.

He said: “Many of our customers would like the option of buying their fruit and veg loose.

“So we’re creating an area of our greengrocery with no plastic where they can pick as much or as little as they like.

“We’re going back to using traditional greengrocery and we hope customers appreciate the choice.”

It is expected more customers will switch up the way they shop as the zones roll out with the new ‘buy bagless’ shelves estimated to save 156 tonnes of plastic a year.

The loose veg range includes everyday essentials such as carrots, potatoes and onions as well as more unusual seasonal varieties such as celeriac.

Fruit will include apples, pears and oranges, plus figs, persimmons and pomegranates.

The expansion of the range means that for the first time customers will also be able to buy loose cauliflower, white cabbage and chestnut mushrooms.

The plastic-free areas will be rolled out in 60 Morrisons stores during the course of the year.

Sites in Guiseley, Skipton, Idle and Hunslet will be included in the first phase of the initiative.

It will then continue to be introduced as part of the supermarket’s plastic cutting programme which has already seen measures such as scrapping 5p single use bags and no longer selling plastic straws.

This is the latest announcement from the chain which has made changes that will remove 9,000 tonnes of unnecessary or problematic plastic each year.

This figure includes 174m plastic produce bags removed from fruit and veg aisles and 600 tonnes of unrecyclable polystyrene removed from branded food and drink products.

It is also hoped a further 1,300 tonnes of plastic will be removed as a result of the launch of paper carrier bags this month.

The move comes amid growing global concern about the damage inflicted by single-use plastic items on marine life, heightened by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series.