Marks & Spencer has introduced a five pence charge for single use food carrier bags in all of its UK stores today (May 6 2008).
The retailer is aiming to encourage customers to reduce the number of bags they use by switching from taking single use carrier bags with every purchase to bringing a re-usable bag for life with them each time they shop. All profits from the charge will go to environmental charity Groundwork to invest in creating or improving parks, play areas and gardens in neighbourhoods around the UK.
M&S is the only major food retailer out of the big five - Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Tesco - to start charging for plastic bags.
The first five greener living spaces projects to be supported through the partnership are located in Scarborough, Nottingham, Wigan, Hammersmith and Edinburgh.
Chief executive Sir Stuart Rose said: Were 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 carrier bags and will switch to using our bags for life.
Over the past month M&S has handed out over 15 million free reusable bags for life, made from 100% recycled plastic, to customers across the UK in preparation for the charge. According to the retailer, this is the biggest single giveaway of reusable and recyclable bags for life by any retailers.
Image: CEO M&S Sir Stuart Rose with a M&S re-usable bag.