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Boots just did a high-street first to help tackle the climate change crisis

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Hollie Richardson
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Boots plastic bag ban

High-street retailer Boots has banned plastic bags, in a move to tackle eco-anxiety and remove over 900 tonnes of plastic waste from their operations. 

The war on plastic waste is now a critical issue, with the high street finally accepting responsibility and taking action. Earlier this month, Sainsbury’s announced that they’re trialling a packaging-free aisle where customers can fill reusable containers with essentials such as pasta and rice. The beauty industry has also responded, with plenty of plastic-free products now available to buy. And the fashion world has introduced their first 100% plant-based biodegradable trainer.

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This week, Boots has become the first national pharmacy, health and beauty retailer in the UK to move to unbleached (brown) paper carrier bags as standard. It will also be the first national pharmacy chain to move to unbleached paper dispensing bags.

The paper bags will replace plastic bags in 53 Boots stores across the UK, with a full roll-out to all 2,485 stores completed by early 2020. This aims to remove over 900 tonnes of plastic from Boots store operations each year. It comes after recent research of 6,000 Boots customers showed how important this issue is to customers. It reported that 92% of Boots customers are concerned about the number of plastic bags used in the UK and 94% agree that it is a good idea to move to paper bags.

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The new Boots bags are made from unbleached, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified recycled brown paper, which is printed with water-based inks so the bags can be easily recycled at home. Sourced and manufactured in the UK, the bags display the On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) standard, which helps consumers to recycle correctly and more often.

Customers can purchase a small, medium or large paper carrier bag for 5p, 7p, or 10p. All profits will be donated to Boots long-term charity partner BBC Children in Need to support disadvantaged children across the UK.

Replacing plastic bags with unbleached brown paper bags should save Boots 900 tonnes of plastic a year.
ban plastic bags

Seb James, Managing Director, Boots UK, said: “Plastic waste is undoubtedly one of the most important issues around the world today with TV shows like Blue Planet highlighting the effects of plastic pollution. This year, we are transforming Boots as we celebrate 170 years, and the move to unbleached paper bags is another pivotal moment in that journey. There is no doubt that our customers expect us to act and this change signifies a huge step away from our reliance on plastic.”

Let’s hope that the high-street continues to take concrete action like this to help solve the climate crisis. 

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