Plastic bags for life scrapped by convenience store chain across Sussex

A regional co-operative, which is removing all single-use carrier bags and plastic bags for life from sale, is urging shoppers to switch to reusable bags to help tackle climate change

Southern Co-op, which has just over 200 convenience stores across the south of England*, is hoping to deter customers from treating bags for life as if they were single-use.

One alternative will be compostable carrier bags available for 10p which are a more environmentally responsible choice and have a secondary use as a food waste caddy liner in the home.

The bags are certified compostable and can be collected as part of Local Authority household food waste collections or are suitable for use in home compost bins.

Gemma Lacey, Director for Sustainability and Communications at Southern Co-op, said: "For years we have been asking our customers and members to bring bags with them so this is naturally the next step - removing the option of buying single use plastic bags or using a plastic bag for life as the next cheapest alternative.

"We have a duty to act against climate change and to give our customers a way to be more environmentally responsible. However, as our stores are based on convenience, we understand that people might not be carrying a bag with them, so the compostable bag is a more responsible alternative to plastic."

Plastic bags for life are being replaced by durable fold away bags and large shoppers with a current price of £1 to encourage customers to reuse them instead of treating them as single-use.

The switch has already taken place in many stores with other changeovers taking place over the next month or so as stores work through the remaining stock of existing bags.

It is hoped that the change to compostable bags will tie in with work being carried out by Defra (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) to enable local authorities in England to prepare to introduce separate food waste collections for all households. 

The independent co-operative is also working towards its ambitious science based targets to cut direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions from its business by 2030, supported by a climate action pathway of planned activity and an initial investment of £5.8m.

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