Sainsbury’s to hide free bags

Sainsbury's will remove free carrier bags from all of its checkouts from October 1 to encourage its customers to re-use bags.

A trial at some of its stores during June resulted in a reduction in the number of free plastic bags given away, the supermarket giant said.

It is hoped the initiative will help Sainsbury’s meet a pledge to halve the number of bags given away for free by April 2009.

But customers will still be able to ask for single-use bags if they want them.

Since June, stores have also been rewarding customers with extra loyalty points through the Nectar card scheme for reusing their bags.

In a statement the company said: “We want to reduce our impact on the environment by reducing the number of carrier bags we issue and have pledged to reduce our carrier bag usage by 50% by April 2009.

“We hope by making this change we’ll encourage our customers to bring back and re-use their bags.”

Earlier this year, M&S announced it would scrap free plastic bags at its food hall checkouts and start charging 5p per bag.

But Sainsburys bosses have said they will not introduce charges as customers had said they did not want to pay for bags.

The move has been praised by London Councils, which is attempting to use a private Bill in Parliament to ban single-use carrier bags in the capital.

London Councils chairman Councillor Merrick Cockell said: “I am delighted that Sainsbury’s are following the growing trend of stores taking a stand for the environment by doing this.

“It helps add more weight to our argument that using single-use shopping bags is socially unacceptable.”

Kate Martin

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