MORRISONS is planning to ditch all its plastic "bags for life" following evidence they are being used once and binned.

The Bradford-based supermarket is running a 12-week trial in eight stores from today which will see sturdy paper bags, priced 30p each, offered at checkouts instead. The trial stores are four in Yorkshire; Skipton, Boroughbridge, Starbeck and York Foss Island and one each in Cambridgeshire, Bristol, Abergavenny and Paisley. 

If the trial is popular, introducing paper bags only across all its 494 stores would save 90 million plastic bags being used annually, the equivalent of 3,510 tonnes of plastic per year, the company said.

Morrisons paper bag has handles, a similar capacity to a standard plastic bag for life and is strong enough to carry heavy weights up to 16kg (the equivalent of 13 bottles of wine).

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The bags are 100 per cent PEFC accredited - meaning they are sourced from forests that are managed responsibly and are manufactured at an eco-powered site in Wales. Labelled 'Reusable Paper Bag' - they can be reused and easily recycled at kerbside. 

Morrisons will also continue to offer jute, cotton and reusable woven bags options in all stores, priced at £2.50, £1.50 and 60p respectively.

Chief executive David Potts said: "We believe customers are ready to stop using plastic carrier bags as they want to reduce the amount of plastic they have in their lives and keep it out of the environment.

"We know that many are taking reusable bags back to store and, if they forget these, we have paper bags that are tough, convenient and a re-useable alternative."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The supermarket says it will listen to customers before making the decision to remove plastic bags across the nation. 

Morrisons first offered paper carrier bags to all its customers in May last year as part of its continuing drive to remove unnecessary plastic from its stores.

The paper bags were trialled in eight Morrisons stores including Skipton and Yeadon since January and have proved popular with customers.

They were made in Wales from paper from sustainably managed forests and are strong enough to carry heavy weights up to 16kg. They will be priced at 20p, which will be the same price as Morrisons standard plastic carrier bag.

The paper grocery bags, which can be reused and ultimately recycled, are labelled 'Reusable Paper Bag'.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Meanwhile, last year Sainsbury's said it was the first UK supermarket to remove plastic bags for loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items.

Tesco has said it will stop using plastic bags to deliver online groceries following a successful trial last year, saving nearly 2,000 tonnes of plastic annually.

Recent figures show the number of single-use plastic bags distributed by the big supermarkets in England has fallen more than 95 per cent since the 5p charge was introduced in 2015.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Data from the Environment Department (Defra) shows the main retailers sold 226 million single-use bags in the past financial year, 322 million fewer than in 2018/19.

An estimated 7.6 billion bags a year were handed out by the leading supermarkets before the 5p charge was introduced in 2015.