Beauty and health chain Boots is now using paper-based bags in place of plastic bags, trying to cut its plastic usage. It will also introduce unbleached paper bags meant for prescriptions.
Prescriptions assembled in central pharmacy wing will be packed in plastic, a move that’s been criticized. Boots defended this saying plastic was recyclable and that these bags had to be more durable. They will be used in around 53 of Boots’ stores, with remaining stores following suit by 2020. With paper bags costing 5p-10p, plastic bags will cost 5p-10p as well. Profits will be donated to BBC’s CIN program. Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales will impose levies on carrier bags, while England won’t make any such move. Boots was part of the UK PP last year, stating its goal of reducing plastic usage during the signing.
It was looking around for new ways to reduce plastic consumption before the centralized pharmacy story broke out, the company stated. These facilities may use paper alternatives or potato starch packaging while utilizing a 60% or better recyclable material plastic, starting from July. Paper bags are quite less durable compared to other materials, although they are more environment-friendly. Louis Edge of Greenpeace stated that this was a great move but cautioned against shrinking forests while procuring materials. He stated that reusable bags should be promoted and the current throwaway culture about products be erased.
Helen Normoyle of Boots UK stated that paper bags were tested for durability and environment friendliness as well so that no significant trade-offs was made. She added that customers’ attitudes were changing towards recycling and plastics. The current move to recycled paper and water inks would remove over 900 tons of plastic, currently being used in Boots stores.
Morrisons and Waitrose have also taken measures like paper bags and bring-your-own-container schemes lately. WBA owns Boots, which is currently considering shutting down stores for cost control. Its UK sales are down by 2.3%, marking its toughest quarter since formation.