Anya Hindmarch, a British accessory designer, has teamed up with Waitrose and Sainsbury’s to launch a durable and reusable shopping bags made of 100 percent recycled material.

The “universal” circular bag is designed to encourage consumers to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle and reduce their dependence on single-use plastic bags. Although sales have dropped dramatically between 2015 and 2020, they fell by 95 percent in major supermarkets. However, the UK government passed legislation to address the problem. According to government data, almost half a million single-use plastic bags were sold between 2020-2021.

Anya Hindmarch and Solent launched the project. Each partner can customize their own version of The Universal Bag to fit their brand.

Waitrose and Sainsbury’s will launch the first ever recycled shopping bags. Sainsbury’s will launch the Sainsbury’s edition in 334 UK stores on December 2, while Waitrose will have the Waitrose edition in 90+ stores starting January 26, 2022. Each bag will retail at 10 Pounds.

The bag will be 100 percent made of recycled plastic. Each step and material used to make the bag have been certified by the Global Recycling Scheme (GRS). This makes it truly 100 percent recyclable.

Image: courtesy of Sainsbury’s; Anya Hindmarch ‘The Universal Bag’

The Universal Bags are practical and durable. It has been subject to extensive testing that guarantees it will last at least ten years. The bag also features a handy, freepost returns pouch that can be placed inside the bag. Simply place the bag in its pocket and it will act as an envelope. Then, you can mail it through a letterbox.

Anya Hindmarch unveils ‘The Universal Bag’ in an effort to reduce single-use plastic bags in supermarkets

Anya Hindmarch is the founder and creative director. She stated in a statement that “Everyone needs to have a bag to carry things around.” The Universal Bag was created to be an alternative to plastic waste, it can be recycled 100 percent and has a 10-year guarantee. It is also guaranteed to last 10 years.

“When you throw away something, there is no “away”. Participating in this collaborative project, supermarkets show their commitment to reduce plastic waste on the planet.

Mark Given, chief market officer at Sainsbury’s, said: “We are serious in reducing plastic and know that it’s something our customers and colleagues are passionately about.” We set a goal to reduce plastic packaging use by 50% by 2025. We also committed to offering more options for customers when they shop at Sainsbury’s, including recycling and reuse.”

“It is for this reason that 14 years ago, we partnered with Anya Hindmarch to create the groundbreaking ‘I Am Not A Plastic Bag’. We are delighted to partner with her once again on The Universal Bag. It is not possible to reduce plastic use and tackle the climate crisis in isolation. This requires collaboration. We are proud to be part of Anya’s new campaign and will help inspire change.

Waitrose executive director James Bailey commented that the bags were being increasingly treated as single-use items. This is part of Waitrose’s commitment to recycle, reuse, or compost plastic by 2023.

“While plastic will always have its uses, we cannot create more of it. We must instead repurpose, reuse, and make existing plastic materials circular. This is why Anya Hindmarch’s new Universal Bag is such a great example for circularity at work.”

Anya Hindmarch added that it and its production partner Solent Group will share the lessons from this project with all global retail outlets upon request to advance the use, reuse, and recycling of shopping bags worldwide.

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