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Marks and Spencer is making a major change at checkouts – is your local store affected?

MARKS and Spencer is the latest supermarket to trial paper bags in a bid to tackle plastic waste and help the environment.

The retailer is trialling the new bags across 10 selected stores in the UK this month to “gauge customer demand”.

M&S is trialling paper bags across 10 UK stores this month

Customers will be able to get them at stores in Maidstone, Hedge End, Bluewater, Kings Road, Hackney, Nottingham, Newcastle, Vanguard, Rochdale and Falkirk.

Each paper carrier bag can hold up to 15kg and has been independently tested to ensure strength and durability.

Andrew Clappen, technical director at M&S Food, said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to re-use carrier bags and offer them durable options that work for them.

“This trial is part of our test and learn approach to finding the best sustainable carrier bags for customers that they can – and want to – keep using again and again.”

It comes as the latest figures from M&S’ Family Matters Index revealed 64% of people are concerned about how environmental damage will impact future generations.

We’ve approached M&S to find out how much the paper bags cost, and if they will be replacing the plastic bags entirely and will update this story when we’ve heard back.

M&S is not the first retailer to take steps to reduce plastic across its stores.

Morrisons replaced all its plastic bags with 30p paper ones in 2021.

The supermarket chain trialled the bags in eight stores which proved successful enough to roll them out nationally.

Tesco doubled the price of its plastic bags to 20p in 2020 to deter customers away from using them.

And it scrapped plastic bags for online shopping orders the year before.

Plus, Sainsbury’s scrapped plastic bags for loose fruit and veg over three years ago.

Shoppers are now instead encouraged to bring in their own containers or buy a reusable drawstring bag for 30p.

A number of other companies are looking to reduce their plastic usage too, including McDonald’s.

And supermarkets are making other changes at the checkout.

Tesco announced this summer it will be removing the number of staff checkouts in some of its stores.

The retailer is removing the main banks of tills from a number of its branches in the hopes more customers use self-service checkouts.

Meanwhile, shoppers branded Matalan a shoplifters’ paradise after being told to remove security tags themselves at self-service checkouts.

How can I save on my supermarket shop?

If you’re looking to save some cash in the run up to Christmas, we’ve got some tips.

You can try the “downshift challenge”, recommended by consumer champion Martin Lewis, which involves buying supermarkets’ own-brand products instead of the higher end ranges.

Plus, you could join a supermarket loyalty scheme which rewards customers for staying loyal to them.

Sainsbury’s has the Nectar Card scheme, while Tesco has its Clubcard.

If you’re not too fussed about the look of your fruit and veg you could buy wonky ones.

German retailer Lidl has its Waste Not scheme and you get 5kg of fruit and vegetables for £1.50.

It started trialling the bargain boxes in 2019 before rolling out the scheme to its 11,550 stores.

A simple change like making a list before you head out shopping could help you save money as well.

If you don’t, you might be tempted into purchasing stuff you don’t actually need.

In other news, we reveal the best Christmas snacks from supermarkets including prawns in blankets and festive crisps.

Plus, The Range shoppers are rushing to buy a “fantastic” Christmas chocolate treat.

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