Supermarket chain Morrisons has decided to completely stop selling plastic bags and will instead offer a paper alternative.
Morrisons claim to be the first supermarket chain to make this decision, however, other chains have decided to somewhat cut plastic use.
Waitrose is currently in the process of removing its 10p “bags for life” from a handful of its stores to eliminate them completely.
Sainsbury offers 20p plastic bags to discourage customers from purchasing them, and, consumers who do buy the 20p alternatives are told to reuse them, the bags themselves are made of 100% recyclable plastic.
Asda defended their use of plastic bags by stating that the science behind the carbon emissions associated with the production of paper bags is unclear and that the CO2 emissions may be unfavourable.
Nevertheless, Morrison’s removal of plastic bags will last about 12 months, and, once successful, plastic bags will be removed from 500 Morrison stores.
The decision will cut out 100 million plastic bags which will save 3,200 tonnes of plastic, the paper bags which will replace the plastic ones will cost 30p and will be recyclable with a capacity of 16kg.
As well as greenhouse gas emissions, plastic waste is another environmental issue that the world is facing.
This is mainly since plastic does not decompose quickly, making it a threat for ecosystems as animals get stuck in plastic as they may mistake it for food.
Because of this, these fragile systems may be endangered for collapse and that may have adverse effects on the economy as the collapse of an ecosystem may endanger specific species of fish or other animals which are consumed.
Additionally, there have been studies linked to microplastics entering food chains which may have adverse effects on the health of the global population, thus making plastic use more and more problematic.
Despite the positives associated with cutting out plastic use, there may be another cause for why Morrisons and other supermarket chains are phasing out plastic apart from acting like good samaritans.
And the likely cause is that these companies are attempting to avoid future government legislation.
In October 2015, the government decided to introduce the 5p plastic bag charge to discourage plastic use in the UK, and, with the current trend of economies becoming more and more environmentally friendly, the likelihood is that future government legislation will involve the banning of plastic bags or further discouragement.
This is already occurring as next year, the plastic bag charge is expected to double and rise to 10 pence, so, to avoid this increased charge, supermarket chains are moving one step ahead of the government.
However, some have criticised this government intervention stating it’s too lenient and instead there should be much more aggressive measures being taken.
So, to avoid paying extra costs in the form of fines or perhaps a future tax, supermarket chains are moving quickly to please government agents and also to entertain the expectations of their increasingly environmentally conscious consumers
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