The Co-op is the latest supermarket to stop selling plastic bags to customers. The company has said that customers tend to buy a plastic bag for life only once, leading to an increase in plastic use.
This is equivalent to 870 tonnes of plastic.
Jo Whitfield, Chief Executive of Co-op Food commented on the move, noting that customers usually by bags for life “just once”.
She said: “Increased use of bags for life has led to a sharp rise in plastic use.
“With over 1.5 billion bags sold each year by retailers, this remains a massive issue for our industry as many shoppers are regularly buying so-called bags for life to use just once and it’s leading to a major hike in the amount of plastic being produced.”
Ms Whitfield continued: “We believe that it should be mandatory for all retailers to report on the sales of all of their reusable bags, not just single-use bags.
“Right now, Co-op is the only major retailer to report on all of the bags it sells.
“This policy would enable a fuller understanding on the impact of the levy and its true effect on shopping behaviours when customers are making decisions at the tills.”
Co-op’s decision to remove plastic bags for life follows Morrisons lead.
Morrisons announced earlier this month that plastic bags for life would no longer be available to customers.
It banned the sale of all plastic bags in stores, with shoppers having to buy paper bags instead.
The new bags cost 30p and there are cotton and woven bags available too, costing between 75p and £2.50.
David Potts, Chief Executive at Morrisons, said: “We have been listening hard to our customers over the past year and we know that they are passionate about doing their bit to keep plastics out of the environment.
“Removing all of the plastic bags from our supermarkets is a significant milestone in our sustainability programme.”
Customers had divided opinions on Morrisons decision to scrap all plastic bags.
While many welcomed the move, praising the supermarket for being environmentally aware, others were not so pleased about the paper bag alternative.
One person wrote on Twitter: “Stop the greed Morrisons, paper bags should be issued free for people to get their overpriced goods home safely.”
Another added: “Producing paper bags has also been shown to emit 70 percent more water pollutants…”