Yesterday, Marks&Spencer introduced a 5p charge for its single use food carrier bags in all of its UK stores. The charge is already in place at M&S stores in the South West of England and Northern Ireland. With the 5p charge, M&S announces the first five ‘greener living spaces’ projects to be supported through the partnership with national charity Groundwork. The five green living spaces are located in Scarborough, Nottingham, Wigan, Hammersmith and Edinburgh. All of the 1.85p profit from the sale of single use food carrier bags will be donated to Groundwork.
Groundwork is working with partners to improve the quality of people’s lives and the places where they live, work and play. Last year Groundwork supported nearly 6,000 projects across the UK. Groundwork will use the money raised from the M&S carrier bag charges to support local projects in towns and cities across the UK.
Over the last month, M&S has handed out over 15 million free reusable bags for life, made from 100 per cent recycled plastic, to customers across the UK in preparation for the charge. The department store is aiming to encourage customers to reduce the amount of bags they use by switching from single use carrier bags to a reusable bag. With the charge, M&S hopes to raise a significant amount of money for the environmental charity Groundwork to invest in creating or improving ‘greener living spaces’ such as parks, play areas and gardens in neighbourhoods around the UK.
Sir Stuart Rose, M&S Chief Executive said: “We’re delighted to be able to pledge our support to the first five ‘greener living spaces’ projects. Carrier bag charging works – we know through our trials that around 70% of our customers will stop using single use carrier bags and will switch to using our bags for life. “However, through our partnership with Groundwork, M&S customers can be assured that if they do need to buy a single use bag, all the profits from their 5p will be invested improving neighbourhoods across the UK.”
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The bag charging is a major step towards M&S’ Plan A commitments to aim to reduce carrier bag usage by a third and send no waste to landfill from its operations by 2012. From May onwards, M&S is also making two additional changes. It’s customers will be able to return any unwanted or used carrier bags for recycling, and M&S will be the first to use a new standard food carrier bag made from 100% post consumer waste. This will reduce the amount of virgin plastic M&S uses by 3,400 tonnes per year.