Marks & Spencer is rolling out a 5p charge for plastic bags in its UK stores from the beginning of May to encourage customers to reduce the number of bags they use and to raise money for environmental projects.The move follows a trial period of charging for bags in over 50 M&S stores in Northern Ireland and the South West of England. The trial has seen customers’ use of food carrier bags drop by over 70 percent and raised over £80,000 for Groundwork, the charity that receives all profits raised from the charge.
Groundwork uses the money to create or improve ‘greener living spaces’ such as parks, play areas and gardens in neighbourhoods around the UK. It is expected that around 40 neighbourhoods will benefit in the next twelve months.
“This move lies at the heart of our 100-point eco plan, Plan A,” said Sir Stuart Rose, chief executive, Marks & Spencer. “We want to make it easy for our customers to do their bit to help the environment and our trials have shown us that they want to take action. Just imagine if M&S customers right across the UK cut the number of food bags they use by 70 percent – that’s over 280 million bags they’d be saving every year.”
Over the month of April, M&S will give shoppers at it stores a free M&S Bag for Life (usual cost 10p) with every food transaction.