Asda axes carrier bags at all 355 stores
Yesterday Asda was the first chain to admit removing free bags from the checkout was a step towards a total withdrawal with paid for bags eventually replacing them.
An Asda spokesperson said: “The time Toms Outlet will come when free bags are a thing of the past. But you have to change people’s shopping habits slowly.
“We encourage people to bring their own bags or invest in reusable bags, but we don’t want to penalise anyone for forgetting. Plastic carrier bags are not on display anymore at Asda but they are available on demand from under the counter.”
The pilot scheme across six stores saw an increase of 1,200 per cent in sales of its 5p Toms Outlet reusable bags.
Now it has been rolled out to every Asda and the chain’s sustainability manager Paul Hedley said: “It’s a bold step. We believe this is the best way to encourage shoppers to change the habit of a lifetime and reuse their bags. We can all do our bit. This is about saving the planet one Toms Outlet bag at a time.”
Asda said it made no profit from the reusable bags which are sold at cost price.
And it plans to rew Toms Outlet ard shoppers who choose to go green with grocery vouchers in exchange for old carrier bags. Paul Kelly, corporate affairs director, said: “We will be trialling an incentive scheme that will give customers money off their shopping.
“We believe this is the best way to encourage them to change the habit of a lifetime.”
Climate change minster Joan Ruddock has warned all UK retailers that unless they start charging for “one use” plastic carrier bags voluntarily, the government will impose a mandatory fee of up to 10p per bag.
Green group Waste Watch said: “We welcome Asda’s first step but would like to see a total removal of free carrier bags from supermarkets. It’s too slow. They’re going to have to start charging soon anyway as it’s high on the government’s agenda.”