July 3, 2019 admin

Paper bags at Boots – is it right to be putting the boot in?

It’s been a week since Boots announced it was replacing its usual plastic carrier bags with unbleached paper versions and that while the 5p price tag still applies (with larger 7p and 10p options), all profits would go to charity – BBC Children in Need to be specific.

The well-known health, beauty and pharmacy chain rolled out paper bags into 53 of its stores across the UK that same day as a test bed, pledging to have them in all 2,400+ stores by 2020. The figures work out based on a 12-month period ending this April that over 900 tonnes of plastic from Boots store operations each year will be removed.

A post on the Boots website explained:

“The new Boots bags are made from unbleached, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified recycled brown paper, which is printed with water-based inks so the bags can be easily recycled at home. Sourced and manufactured in the UK, the bags display the On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) standard, which helps consumers to recycle correctly…”.

A huge step that shows Boots’ commitment to being a responsible retailer and acknowledging its part to play in reducing plastic pollution.

However many have been quick to call them out for switching to plastic bags for some medical prescriptions recently. When concerns started to appear on social media about this noticeable change, Boots responded that they were also looking for alternative ways to package dispensing products, including a compostable solution.

We’re big believers in CSR and brands backing up their pleas with purpose, not just for the power it can have in the PR mix but the real benefits it has in the world. Of course, the predicament that Boots has found itself in does undermine or counteract these latest plans and their effort in limiting single use plastics, but should we not be focusing our attention elsewhere to retailers ignoring their environmental impact completely? Looking at you ASOS.

A “token gesture” it is not if you consider how major it would be if others of the same scale followed suit. So we’re here for it. What’s even better is that our very own intu Eldon Square and intu Metrocentre are among the first shopping centres for the bags to be available in.

We don’t know about you but we’re heading straight down to our local Boots to applaud a bold move and if we forget our own bags, we’re safe in the knowledge we’re supporting a worthy cause in BBC Children in Need. Who knows, it might even make it onto an Instagram story!