The retailer has phased the bags out of circulation across 244 stores in recent months and expects the move to help save 12m pieces of single-use plastic per year.
Instead, customers will be offered a 10p biodegradable bag for life or compostable bags, where local councils can accommodate them.
The measure is part of the society’s efforts to support the environment, which have seen it reduce its total carbon footprint by 70% since 2010. The reduction was achieved due to the installation of a range of energy efficient technologies such as LED lighting, solar panels and adding doors to chillers, alongside changes to its funeral and distribution network reducing road miles and increasing fuel efficiency. These initiatives helped to halve of energy consumption of the co-op.
In addition, Central England has achieved the Carbon Trust Standard for carbon, waste and water reduction for a second time.
To address food waste, the Central England Co-operative is rolling out a food redistribution scheme to 230 food stores, which is set to cut food waste by 40%.
Luke Olly, Central England Co-op’s Energy and Environment lead, said: “As a responsible business, we are committed to minimising our impact on the environment.
“We are delighted to mark World Environment Day by sharing with our customers and colleagues what we have achieved to reduce our impact on the environment.
“We are particularly proud to be able to say we have reduced our carbon footprint by 70% since 2010, which is a significant achievement, and have also removed all single-use carrier bags as part of our ongoing efforts to tackle plastic pollution.
“We will continue to work on our long-term focus areas, aligned with UN Sustainable Development goals, which are to mobilise on climate change, minimise plastics impact, collaborate on waste, accessible sustainable products, improving community air quality and protecting water resources.”