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One of the largest beauty and pharmacy chains in the UK, Boots, has begun to introduce brown paper bags in the bid to phase out single-use plastic carrier bags.

The US-owned chain (Walgreens Boots Alliance) said that it was committed to reducing single-use plastic when it signed up to the UK Plastics Pact last year.

The paper bags will be available in 53 of its stores initially, with the aim to introduce the bags into all 2,485 of its stores by 2020. The chain will also roll out unbleached paper bags for pharmacy dispensing prescriptions, however some prescriptions from its central pharmacy will still be packaged in plastic. Boots responded that the plastic is recyclable but needs to be durable for this particular purpose.

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The new paper bags are aimed at shoppers who don’t have their own carriers, and will cost¬†5p, 7p and 10p according to size (plastic bags currently cost 5p or 10p). Boots will continue to donate all profits from the sale of its carrier bags to the children’s charity BBC Children in Need.

Boots UK director of marketing Helen Normoyle said, “(the paper bags) have been carefully tested to make sure that over their entire life cycle they are better for the environment, whilst still being a sturdy, practical option for customers who haven’t bought their own bags with them when shopping”.

“We have seen a significant shift in our customers’ attitudes towards plastics and recycling in recent years – there’s never been a more important time to show our customers that we’re taking action to reduce our impact.”

The switch from single-use plastic to paper bags (made from recycled brown paper and printed with water-based inks) aims to remove 900 tonnes of plastic from the chain’s stores and operations every year.

Image courtesy of bbc.com