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M&S extends 'successful' bag charging trial

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is extending its five pence bag charging trial to 33 of its South West of England shops next year. An initial 16 week charging scheme in its Northern Irish supermarkets found that bag use was reduced by 66% and three quarters of customers used an alternative bag. The company will also switch the manufacture of standard carrier bags to 100% recycled consumer waste from January 2008 for the 33 stores. The trial area will include shops in Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Devon and Cornwall where bag charging will start on February 3 2008. For three weeks from January 13 2008, customers will be offered a free bag for life each time they buy food. The bags for life will revert to their usual price of 10 pence on February 3 2008. M&S said that when a bag for life wears out it will be recycled and replaced for free. Chief executive Stuart Rose said: When we committed to our Plan A targets, we knew that M&S had to make bold decisions to try and encourage customers to change their behaviour. Our initial trial in Northern Ireland has shown us that introducing charging does make customers think twice about the number of bags they use, which is why we are extending our carrier bag charging trial to the South West of England. If we see similar results and get an encouraging response from our customers in the South West, we plan to roll this out across the UK. The extended trial is part of M&S Plan A commitments to reduce bag usage by a third and send no waste to landfill by 2012. Image: M&S Chief executive Stuart Rose

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