Anya Hindmarch joins forces with Sainsbury’s and Waitrose to launch super-eco shopping bag

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Fourteen years ago, the “I Am Not A Plastic Bag” campaign featured its revolutionary predecessor. That was first launched in Sainsbury’s stores and was aimed at raising awareness of single-use plastic bags, an issue being largely ignored on the global stage.

Since then the use of single-use plastic bags has reduced dramatically, with sales falling 95 per cent in the main supermarkets between 2015 and 2020, after the UK government introduced legislation to address the issue. 

However a billion single-use plastic bags were still sold between 2020 and 2021 according to recent government figures.

Anya Hindmarch, in collaboration with supermarkets UK-wide, is launching the new initiative designed to inspire further change in consumer behaviour, providing a new shopping bag solution to transport shoppers that encourages a greater reuse mindset and tackles a range of sustainability challenges. 

Eco not Ego is the thinking that underpins this latest campaign with Sainsbury’s and Waitrose joining Anya Hindmarch and household goods and snacks producer Solent Group to create a new generation shopping bag.

The project, open to all supermarkets globally, will allow each partner to customise their own exclusive version of The Universal Bag in keeping with their own brand. 

Pioneering partners Sainsbury’s and Waitrose are the first supermarkets to launch their own exclusive edition of The Universal Bag. Sainsbury’s edition (RRP £10) is now available with Waitrose’s available from January 26 in over 90 stores initially (RRP £10). 

The bag is made from 100 per cent recycled plastic and each step and material used in making the bag, guaranteed for 10 years, has been fully certified under the Global Recycling Scheme (GRS).

The Universal Bag also features an innovative freepost returns pouch built into a pocket inside the bag so it can be recycled locally. It is hoped the chic design will also capture attention, helping raise awareness 

Anya Hindmarch and Solent have committed to share insights from the project with all global retailers on request and progress as quickly as possible the use, reuse and recycling of shopping bags around the world.

“Everyone needs a bag to move things around. The Universal Bag is designed to offer an alternative solution that saves plastic from landfill, is simple to recycle 100 per cent, is guaranteed for 10 years, and is hopefully special enough to inspire people to use it,” says company founder and creative director Hindmarch.

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“When you throw something away, there is no “away”. By collaborating on this project supermarkets are showing their continued commitment to reducing the amount of plastic on our planet.”

Sainsbury’s chief marketing officer Mark Given added: “We are serious about reducing plastic and we know it’s an issue our customers and colleagues are passionate about too. It’s why we set an ambitious target to reduce our use of plastic packaging by 50 per cent by 2025 and committed to making it easier for our customers to recycle while offering them more reusable options when they shop with us. 

“It’s for this reason that fourteen years after we first partnered with Anya Hindmarch on the ground-breaking ‘I Am Not A Plastic Bag’ we’re delighted to join forces with her again on a brilliant new initiative, The Universal Bag. Reducing plastic and tackling the climate crisis can’t be solved in isolation, it requires collaboration and we’re proud to represent that message and inspire change as part of Anya’s new campaign.”

“We recently took the decision to remove our bags for life as our research showed that they were increasingly being treated as a single use item, and this is part of our commitment to only use plastic where it can be recycled, reused or home composted by 2023,” explained Waitrose executive director James Bailey.

“Plastic will continue to have its uses but we must not create any more of it unnecessarily. Instead, we must repurpose, reuse and make existing plastic materials circular – this is why we’re excited to be an early adopter of Anya Hindmarch’s new Universal Bag as it is a great example of circularity at work.” 

Solent chief executive Ashley Symonds commented: “Both Anya and Solent have a shared heritage in creating and producing market disrupting initiatives that help customers to lead healthier and more sustainable lives. We are delighted to have partnered with Anya and her team on the Universal Bag which further supports the reduction and need for single use plastics. 

“The Universal Bag is a beautiful and high performing product that encourages customers to buy into reusability and sustainability; it’s not a bag you’d ever feel comfortable throwing in the bin. Given the durability of the bag, ideally, it will never need to be recycled but, if it does, we have made it easy for the customer to get it back into the recycling stream – a process that has never been done before. The Universal Bag is a true market first and another stepchange in our mission to end single use plastic bag usage once and for all.”

FIND OUT MORE

www.anyahindmarch.com, sainsburys.co.uk, waitrose.co.uk, solentgroup.co.uk

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