The retailer will start the phase out by March and is hopeful that the plastic bags will be completely removed “within a few months”.

Morrisons initially trialled the move in six of its stores last year, and a spokesperson said that customers had responded positively by using reusable bags.

“We’ve already seen a big reduction in plastic bag usage since the 5p charge was introduced,” the spokesperson said. “The ambition behind introducing a charge on single-used carrier bags was to reduce their usage and now we feel the time is right to stop offering them altogether.”

Plastic-free aisles?

In making the decision to phase out carrier bags in favour of bags for life, Morrisons has followed in the footsteps of rivals Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

But campaigners are calling for the big supermarket chains to go one step further by introducing a plastic free-aisle, proposed by Theresa May in last month’s 25-Year Environment Plan.

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of campaign group A Plastic Planet, said that the proposal had the support of the public, business leaders and scientific experts. She highlighted a recent Populus survey which revealed that more than 90% of Brits backed the creation of a plastic-free aisle.

“It’s high time the UK’s biggest supermarkets backed the move,” Sutherland said.

The war on plastic waste has continued to build momentum this week. On Tuesday, (6 February), Asda pledged to slash the amount in its own-brand packaging by 10% in the next 12 months.

That news came on the same day that London City Airport became the first airport in the UK to place an outright ban on plastic straws across food and drink outlets on its premises, instead obliging outlets to use biodegradable straws available on request.

Plastics has also been high on the domestic political agenda. This week, more than 100 MPs, including Environment Secretary Michael Gove, pledged to reduce single-use plastic consumption within their local constituencies, after committing to Sky Ocean Rescue’s #PassOnPlastic pledge.

George Ogleby

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