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Waitrose carrier bags could cost shoppers 50p to discourage single-use plastic sales

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High-end food store Waitrose, which has a store in Swaffham, is considering charging customers 50p for each reusable carrier bag in an effort to deter shoppers from stockpiling single-use ones.

Customers could see an end to 10p bags being offered at the till in favour of more durable options made from 100 per cent recycled plastic.

The approach is being trialled in 12 of its stores this month before being considered for national roll-out.

All 5p bags were removed from the brand's tills in March 2019, with loose fruit and vegetable bags replaced with a home-compostable alternative - a move which is believed to have saved 134 million bags a year.

The store giant is also trialling replacing home-compostable bags with a reusable 30p option.

The company said it was committed to reducing its impact on the environment, with a large part of this cutting down on the amount of plastic in its shops.

It is hoped the higher price tag will persuade customers to remember to bring their own and reuse existing bags.

Home-compostable bags for fruit and veg could also be replaced
Home-compostable bags for fruit and veg could also be replaced

Before the charge was introduced in October 2015, over 7.6 billion single-use carrier bags were given to customers by major supermarkets in England during 2014, government data suggests - the equivalent of around 140 bags per person.

And despite the average household possessing 40 plastic bags, according to figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), numbers continued to increase each year before the charge was introduced.

Major supermarkets supplied 564 million single-use carrier bags in 2019-20, a drop of over 7.4 billion bags compared to 2014.

Since the pay-per-bag scheme was launched, the number used has gone down by more than 95 per cent in England, claims Defra.

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