Lidl is to stop selling single-use plastic bags from July next year in a step on from the Government’s 5p levy.
The German discounter will permanently remove the bags from sale across all stores in England, Scotland and Wales from July 1 to save an estimated 63 million plastic bags annually - the equivalent of 760 tons of plastic, it said.
It hopes the move will help to “strongly discourage consumers from a single use, throw-away mind-set”.
Lidl UK commercial director Ryan McDonnell said: “Our pledge to stop selling single-use carrier bags is all about promoting a more environmentally friendly alternative.
“It will directly encourage shoppers to think about sustainability, and the role they can play in reducing unnecessary plastic waste.
“The levy introduced by the Government last year was an important start, and as a responsible retailer, we see it as our role to invest in a sustainable future and to bring our customers on that journey with us.”
More than seven billion of the bags were handed out by seven main retailers in 2014, but this figure dropped to just over half a billion in the first six months after the 5p charge was introduced in October last year, according to the latest figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.
England was the last part of the UK to introduce the charge, part of a Government scheme to reduce litter and protect wildlife.
Retailers with 250 or more full-time equivalent employees have to charge a minimum of 5p for the bags they provide for shopping in stores and for deliveries, but smaller shops and paper bags are not included.