The Co-op has developed a compostable carrier bag to replace its plastic bag and will begin rolling it out to its stores in the next few weeks.

The move will see 60 million fewer non-biodegradable bags used each year. The bag will initially appear in areas where the waste collections are already set up to accept them but they will eventually find their way into of its 1,400 stores.

The retailer has also promised to eliminate all own-brand black and dark packaging, including ready meal trays, by 2020 and to use a minimum of 50 per cent recycled plastic in bottles, pots, trays and punnets by 2021.