Asda ditches 5p carrier bags, plastic straws and polystyrene

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Asda is to ditch single-use carrier bags in its stores by the end of the year in an effort to scale back on plastic.

The supermarket has also pledged to reduce the amount of plastic in its Own Brand products by 10 per cent over the next 12 months.

Unveiling a raft of measures the supermarket will introduce, Asda’s CEO Roger Burnley said: “We will phase out single-use carrier bags during 2018 in favour of Bags for Life.” He added the Asda will continue to donate profits from these sturdier, reusable, bags to good causes.

Other changes include getting rid of the polystyrene boards used to protect pizza bases in favour of cardboard, which Asda says will eliminate 178 tonnes of plastic each year; and switching the 2.4m plastic straws used in its cafes annually to paper.

It also said that replacing its coloured drinks bottles with clear plastic, will lead to 500 tonnes more plastic being recycled every year.

Morrisons has taken similar steps in terms of plastic reduction, though has not gone as far as Asda.

Last September the retailer began trialling the removal of single-use 5p carrier bags from six of its stores.

It has also vowed to scrap plastic drinking straws, replacing them with paper straws this year, and has started to phase out plastic-stem cotton buds, offering paper-stem cotton buds instead. Tesco stopped selling single-use carrier bags in its stores last August.

Shoppers who do not bring their own bag with them can purchase a Bag for Life for 10p.

Waitrose still sells single-use plastic bags, though proceeds are used to help fund beach and river cleans organised by the Marine Conservation Society.

The company recently announced it would stop selling any own label food in black plastic by the end of 2019, the earliest date any UK supermarket has committed to removing this plastic from its shelves.

Currently, a great deal of black plastic used by supermarkets for food such as ready meals and puddings cannot be recycled as lasers used by waste processors cannot sense the colour effectively.

Waitrose already sells only paper-stem cotton buds as opposed to plastic-stemmed ones, and Waitrose has said it will stop selling packs of disposable plastic straws from September this year.

This article originally appeared in our sister publication, iNews.