UK –leading British supermarket, Morrisons has announced plans to introduce plastic-free and vegetable areas across many of its stores in the UK in fight against plastic waste and pollution.

It becomes the first British supermarket to offer customers with up to 127 varieties of fruit and vegetables, giving them a choice to buy them loose or put them in recyclable paper bags.

The move follows a ten-month trial in three Morrisons stores in Skipton, Guiseley and St Ives where the amount of loose fruit and veg bought by customers increased by an average of 40%. 

According to Morrisons, the new ‘buy bagless’ fruit and veg shelves are expected to result in a similar switch from bagged to loosen options, saving an estimated three tonnes of plastic a week, equating to 156 tonnes a year.

“Many of our customers would like the option of buying their fruit and veg loose,” said Drew Kirk, Fruit and Veg Director at Morrisons.

“So, we’re creating an area of our greengrocery with no plastic where they can pick as much or as little as they like.

“We’re going back to using traditional greengrocery and we hope customers appreciate the choice.”

The loose fruit and veg areas will be rolled out in 60 Morrisons stores by the end of 2019, then introduced to other stores as part of the supermarket’s ongoing store refurbishment programme.

 They will then continue to be introduced as part of the supermarket’s ongoing store refurbishment programme nationwide – saving even more plastic over time.

The loose veg range includes everyday essentials such as carrots, potatoes and onions as well as more unusual seasonal varieties such as celeriac. Fruit will include apples, pears and oranges, plus figs, persmimons and pomegranates.

Morrisons plans to expand the range to include cauliflower, white cabbage and chestnut mushrooms.

Earlier this year, Morrisons said it will sell 20p paper carrier bags in all stores in a bid to reduce plastic waste. 

The supermarket said the paper bags are made from sustainably managed forests and that they are strong enough to carry groceries weighing up to 16kg.

The initiatives, according to Morrisons will remove 9,000 tonnes of unnecessary or problematic plastic a year.