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Morrisons hikes price of plastic bags and trials paper alternative

Morrisons undated handout photo of their US-style paper grocery bags, priced at 20p, which the retailer is introducing at eight stores as part of a eight-week trial. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday January 28, 2019. The bags have handles and are a similar capacity to standard plastic carrier bags. See PA story CONSUMER Morrisons. Photo credit should read: Mikael Buck/Morrisons /PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Morrisons is hiking the price of long-life plastic bags to 15p and introducing a paper version costing 20p as part of a trial.

The supermarket said the eight-week trial at eight stores including in Gibraltar is in response to customers saying that reducing plastic is their top environmental concern.

Morrisons removed 5p carrier bags early in 2018 which led to a 25% reduction in overall bag sales.

The new US-style paper grocery bags, priced at 20p, have handles and are a similar capacity to standard plastic carrier bags.

Morrisons said the stores participating in the trial are Camden, Skipton, Wood Green, Hunslet, Yeadon, Erskine, Gibraltar and Abergavenny.

The 5p plastic bag levy was introduced in England from October 5 2015 and all large retailers have been required to introduce the charge. Similar schemes run in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove has set up a consultation exercise that ends next month on raising the fee to 10p and including smaller retailers, which could come into effect from January 2020.

Retailers are expected to donate any proceeds from the 5p charge to good causes.

Figures from the UK Government at the end of 2018 showed that nearly two billion 5p plastic bags were sold in the last financial year.

This is a stark reduction from 2014, when 7.6 billion carrier bags - the equivalent of 140 per person - were handed out solely by England's seven largest supermarkets.

Figures from the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show the same seven retailers - Asda, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury, Tesco, The Co-operative Group, Waitrose and Morrisons - sold 1.04 billion bags in 2017/18, nearly 60% of the 1.75 billion in England.

The Gibraltar Government has also taken a number of steps to reduce the use of single-use plastics on the Rock.

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