British retailer Co-op has rolled out compostable carrier bags at more than 1,000 food stores across the country, as part of its commitment to eliminate single-use plastic bags.

The retailer expects the move will result in the elimination of around 60 million plastic carrier bags across the UK.

The initiative is part of the company’s ethical strategy, ‘The Future of Food – a recipe for sustainability’, to tackle plastic pollution, food waste, healthy eating, and saving energy.

Co-op will initially offer the 5p bags in food stores in communities, where the local authority in the household food waste collections accepts them.

According to the company, the bags can be converted into peat-free compost along with the household food waste and are approved for home composting.

Co-op environment manager Iain Ferguson said: “Our members and customers expect us to help them to make more ethical choices, and we are dedicated to doing just that. Reducing environmental impacts is, and always has been, at the core of Co-op’s efforts.

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“The bags are carefully designed to help local authorities with food waste recycling, supporting their community and resident engagement, and reducing plastic contamination in a targeted way.

“The bags are carefully designed to help local authorities with food waste recycling, supporting their community and resident engagement.”

“We are working to get closer to what our members want, need and care about. We have committed to removing own-brand plastic products.

“The launch of compostable carrier bags in our stores provides an environmentally friendly alternative to single-use plastic shopping bags.”

The retailer has piloted the compostable bags for consumer testing in 22 stores in the Greater Manchester area this year.

Other sustainable measures pledged by the retailer aim at eliminating plastic across all own-brand black and dark plastic packaging such as ready meal trays by 2020 and making all its own-brand packaging recyclable by 2023.