UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has unveiled a reusable bag in a move to prevent waste and tackle plastic pollution.
The company has introduced the eco-shopping bag as part of its Plastics Plan aimed at removing 1,000t of plastic packaging in less than a year, as well as replacing 75 million pieces of plastic cutlery with wood alternatives across its stores each year.
According to the retailer, the reusable bag is made using 75% Social Plastic, which is plastic waste collected and recycled by Plastic Bank.
The waste plastic is sorted at recycling centres in Manila based on type and colour, and is shredded to create flakes. It is then exported to Vietnam to produce the M&S bag.
M&S product developer Natalie Tate said: “With more plastic than fish predicted to be in the ocean by 2050, it’s vital that we all take action to minimise plastic waste.
“We’re reducing the amount of plastic we use as a business and developing smart ways to help our customers reduce the amount of plastic they use.
“This is a strong, sturdy, practical bag to help our customers with their shop, but with the added benefit of reducing poverty and preventing more plastic getting into our seas by turning waste plastic into a tangible and re-usable item.”
The retailer is currently offering the bag for a price of £1.30 and is available in stores across the UK.
Plastic Bank is also offering incentives to people who collect waste and recycle it at one of 36 recycling centres in Haiti and the Philippines.
Collectors will receive blockchain digital tokens in exchange for waste plastic. The tokens can be used to buy essential goods such as food, water, cookstoves and fuel.
Plastic Bank CEO David Katz said: “M&S has powerfully responded to customer demand for sustainable products and created an immediate impact on the lives of our collectors.
“The M&S team has been incredibly committed to our partnership and thanks to their support, Plastic Bank is empowered to stop more ocean plastic, help more people out of poverty, and make responsible production the standard for businesses everywhere.”