In a bid to reduce the number of bags used by food buyers, UK's major retailer Marks & Spencer has announced a 5 pence charge. This levy will be charged for food carrier bags in all its stores across UK, with effect from the beginning of May. All profits generated from the charge will go to environmental charity This system will find implementation after a successful pilot project in Northern Ireland and the South West of England. A 5p charge, when levied in M&S stores in Northern Ireland and the South West of England, led to a 70% reduction in the number of carrier bags used by food customers. If this success was to continue across the country, then the customers of M&S across the UK who reduce the number of food bags they use by 70% will end up saving almost 280 million bags annually.
In another move, M&S has introduced a new type of plastic packaging for its Italian ready meals range that is 20% lighter - ultimately resulting in savings in packaging to the tune of 48 tons per year.
M&S is also conducting a trial run of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic in non-food carrier bags and bags for life at 35 M&S stores in the South West of England