October 1, 2018 / 9:01 PM / 19 days ago

UK's Co-op strikes green plastic bag deal with Italy's Novamont - source

MILAN (Reuters) - The Co-operative, Britain’s sixth-biggest grocer, has struck a deal with Italian bioplastics group Novamont to replace traditional plastic carrier bags at its stores with biodegradable ones, a source said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Branding is seen outside a Co-op supermarket in London, Britain, September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

The British retailer plans to remove some 60 million single-use bags from its shops, the equivalent of 340 tonnes of plastic, in the first period of phasing-out, the source said.

The agreement envisages replacing an overall 180 million plastic bags over three years, the source added.

FILE PHOTO: A student dressed as a plastic bag monster holds up a placard as he stands next to the art installation "A Bangkok Minute" made of plastic bags during an event organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at a department store in central Bangkok, Thailand June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha /File Photo

The Co-op was not immediately available for a comment.

The move is part of the Co-op’s plans to cut the use of plastics in its stores and use more recycled plastic products.

Supermarkets have come under increased pressure to cut their use of plastic as images of littered oceans and beaches become commonplace, shocking both consumers and shareholders.

Since October 2015, large retailers in England have been legally required to impose a charge for single-use plastic bags, a measure which the government says has seen plastic bag sales in England’s seven biggest supermarkets drop by 86 percent.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes

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