M&S plastic bag use drops by 80%!

Some good news from the M&S food chain. Over the last 6 weeks use of disposable plastic shopping bags by their customers has dropped by 80%! This is thanks to their policy of charging 5 pence per bag and their promotion to encourage shoppers to use their ‘life-time’ bags instead.

Their campaign was run very responsibly, involving a combination of advertising, instore promotion, free giveaways of their life-time bags and plenty of warning of the change of policy. You now have a choice; bring a bag along for your shopping or, buy a life-time M&S bag for 10p. A disposable will cost you 5p.

The Coffee House says, ‘Well done’ to M&S. We understand that the government is now looking to push the other large supermarkets in the same direction.

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6 Responses to M&S plastic bag use drops by 80%!

  1. the Grit says:


    I suspect that I’m missing something here. Do y’all shop every day? I also find myself asking this same question about people in our major cities who are carping on the same issue. Personally, I go shopping at most twice a week, and when I do, it results in at least half a dozen bags full of stuff. Often many more. So, buying that many reusable bags sounds like a serious investment. For that matter, since we save our plastic grocery bags and use them for other purposes, of which there are many, I suspect that, even if we were forced to provide our own reusable bags, we’d wind up buying enough bulk plastic bags to make up the difference. Thus, I’m thinking that not using disposable plastic bags may have some tiny core of sense in over populated areas, for most people the idea is not a good idea.

    the Grit

  2. matt says:

    Once a week shop over here for most people. Don’t worry, you country folk will catch up soon enough.

  3. matt says:

    Good overview. I liked this;

    “I spent many months arguing against this tax with the minister, I thought customers wouldn’t accept it,” said Feargal Quinn, a senator and founder of Ireland’s largest chain of supermarkets. “But I have become a big, big enthusiast.”

    Quinn, nicknamed Ireland’s “pope of customer service” for his meticulous attention to detail at his stores, added: “We were using millions of plastic bags a year and they were all being imported and only used once.

    “Now we’re saving the environment, we’re reducing litter and since we’re not paying for bags it ultimately save money for us and that reduces the price of food for our customers.”

    Simple really.

  4. earthpal says:

    I agree with you Matt. Well done M&S.

    My sister shops at Asda and she tells me that they no longer throw bundles of carrier bags at you at the check-out. They have the reusable ones available but the free throwaway ones are kept out of sight and the checkout operatives ask you if you need any before they drag out a million of them and then proceed to pack two items per bag. And according to one checkout girl, they are soon going to start charging for them.

    So it’s finally catching on.

  5. Pingback: Of Carrier Bags and Green Party Leaders « Earthpal

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