M&S to roll-out charging for food carrier bags across UK

Marks & Spencer is to roll-out a 5p charge for food carrier bags in all of its UK stores, with the exception of those that do not sell food, from the beginning of May to encourage customers to reduce the number of bags they use and to raise money for environmental projects.

All profits generated from the charge will go to environmental charity Groundwork and be used 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.

The unprecedented move follows a successful trial period of charging for food carrier 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% and raised over £80,000 for Groundwork. This money is now being invested in six projects across those regions including the development of the Daisy Hill Woodland in Newry, the creation of a play area at the Old Warren Community Centre in Lisburn and improving a green space at Woodhay Road in Plymouth.

Sir Stuart Rose, Chief Executive, Marks & Spencer said “This move lies at the heart of our 100-point eco plan, Plan A. 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% – that’s over 280 million bags they’d be saving every year. “On top of this, our customers will be raising valuable funds to go to our partner charity, Groundwork, to invest in much-needed green spaces in our neighbourhoods.”

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