Plastic “bags for life” are being killed off by a supermarket chain after it said that they were making the waste problem worse.
The thicker bags are supposed to be greener than thin 5p bags because they are designed to be reused multiple times and then replaced free of charge and recycled.
Lidl has admitted that many of its 9p bags for life are being used only once and thrown away, with less than 1 per cent returned for replacement.
It will test removing the bags from sale at 54 stores in Wales by May 1 and, if the trial is successful , withdraw them from all UK stores, saving 80 million bags and 2,500 tonnes of plastic a year.
The Times reported in December that supermarkets were creating even more plastic waste by switching from 5p bags to bags for life. Britain’s ten biggest retailers issued more than a billion bags for life last year — 44 per household. Tesco, Morrisons, Iceland, Asda and Lidl sell only bags for life, which contain up to four times as much plastic as the 5p version. Richard Walker, Iceland’s joint managing director, admitted that the change had increased the amount of plastic used.