Morrisons is to become the first supermarket chain to remove packaging from its fruit and vegetables.
Customers will be able to choose from up to 127 varieties of fruit and veg in many of its stores, buying them loose or putting them in recyclable paper bags.
The new “buy bagless” fruit and veg shelves are expected to result in a similar switch from bagged to loose – saving an estimated three tonnes of plastic a week.
Drew Kirk, director of fruit and veg at Morrisons, said: “Many of our customers would like the option of buying their fruit and veg loose.
“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.”
Sainsbury’s has also announced that by September, paper bags will be available to customers for loose bakery items. Customers buying loose fruit and vegetables will either be able to bring their own bags or buy a re-usable bag made from recycled materials.
This alone will reduce their plastic output by 489 tonnes, and the retailer is also reducing the amount of plastic used for its packaged fruits and vegetables.
This includes plastic trays for asparagus, sweetcorn, tomatoes, and carrots as well as plastic sleeves from herb pots and plastic lids for cream pots.
Sainsbury’s is also removing non-recyclable plastics from its stores, and plans to eradicate black plastic trays, plastic film on fruit and vegetables, PVC and polystyrene trays, plastic trays for eggs and plastic cutlery.
Waitrose has also unveiled a packaging-free trial in one of its Oxford stores.
The supermarket has asked locals in Botley Road to bring their own containers for groceries including fruit and vegetables, wine, pasta, rice and cleaning materials.
It is also trialing a “pick and mix” frozen fruit section, and the prices for all the unpackaged goods will be around 15 per cent cheaper than the packaged alternative.
Tesco is also trialing plastic-free fruit and vegetable sections in a small number of stores in the UK.