Morrisons has announced it will replace the plastic packaging from its bananas with paper bands, in a move that makes it the first supermarket to remove plastic banana packaging from all its stores.
The announcement follows a successful 12-week trial that saw two million plastic bags removed from bananas. Morrisons said it will now complete the switch to paper bands at all its stores over the next six months and as a result it expects to eliminate 45 million single-use plastic bags each year, the equivalent of removing 180 tonnes of plastic from stores annually.
The paper band will be made from FSC certified paper and will list the product's country of origin, barcode, and certification such as Fairtrade, Soil Association Certification, or Rainforest Alliance.
Morrisons's Banana Buyer, Elio Biondo, said: "Bananas have their own packaging - their skins. They also grow in bunches which generally means they don't need bagging together. So a simple sturdy paper band is the ideal alternative. In trials the quality of the bananas has remained the same, so this switch out of plastic is a no-brainer."
The switch to paper bands is part of Morrisons's wider plans to reduce plastic packaging and waste from its stores. Just last week it announced plans to trial six 'zero waste' stores in Edinburgh that will introduce facilities to help customers recycle all waste, from hard to recycle plastics to foil and plant pots, as well as reducing waste in store.
Earlier in the year, Morrisons launched a glass milk bottle trial that saw glass milk bottles directly delivered to store and returned by customers for collection and reuse, while the store has also introduced paper bags at checkout and paper or string bags for fruit and vegetables to reduce the amount of plastic available in store.
The news comes ahead of an anticipated announcement from the government regarding plans to extend a ban on single use plastics to include items such as single use plastic cutlery, plates and cups. The government has pledged to prevent avoidable plastic waste by 2042, by banning single use plastic items, such as straws, stirrers, and cotton buds, and in August, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced it was looking to extend the ban with further details set to be revealed in the coming weeks.