SUPERMARKET chain Iceland has launched a trial hoping to encourage shoppers to swap their plastic bags for paper ones.

The 15p paper bags will be trialled alongside plastic bags for life (15p) in North Wales, Wirral and Cheshire, covering 25 stores.

This trial will then be rolled out across a further 15 stores in the Manchester area from August 10 and will be used to monitor 'consumer preference' when the two options are offered side by side.

At the same time an Iceland store in Hackney is removing all plastic bags and only offering the paper version.

The paper bags can hold up to 16kg – which the store says is the equivalent of 70 packs of Iceland’s No Bull Burgers (226g per pack).

Lighter weight paper carrier bags (10p), jute bags (£1), Disney branded cotton bags (£1), and small paper bags for meat products will also be available, providing a complete range of plastic-free options for customers.

It is anticipated that the trials will collectively save over 210,000 plastic carrier bags from being newly purchased.

Both trials will run for six months.

Richard Walker, Managing Director at Iceland, said: “We know that many customers are using ‘bags for life’ only once and the retail industry needs to work together to challenge this behaviour and find alternative solutions.

"Over 1.2 billion plastic bags for life were sold last year in the UK and this needs to change drastically.

“These trials will help us to understand how our customers feel about removing one of the most common objects associated with plastic, the supermarket carrier bag, and how they respond to various alternatives.

"We’re looking forward to seeing how customers respond and using the results of the trials in our wider plans to reduce our plastic footprint.”