The East of England Co-op has become the first large retailer to join the Borrow Bags Scheme in Felixstowe and Walton.  The scheme will allow its customers to use shopping bags which are handmade by local volunteers using upcycled clothing, pillow cases and material, and each feature a green triangle.

The Borrow Bags Scheme is in place at four of the East of England Co-op’s stores including its supermarket on Hamilton Road and its convenience stores on King Street, Wadgate Road and on the high street in Walton.

Borrow Bags was founded in April this year by local resident Gemma Smith. The innovative scheme provides shoppers who have forgotten a shopping bag, or purchased more than expected, to borrow a bag rather than purchase a plastic one. When finished with the bag, they can return it to any participating store, all of which display a green triangle.

Participation will help the East of England Co-op to continue to reduce its carbon footprint and the retailer has also donated 200 Fairtrade cotton bags as part of its support for the scheme, helping bring the total number of Borrow Bags in circulation to 400.

Gemma Smith, said: “We are so pleased that the East of England Co-op has decided to join the Borrow Bags scheme. Together we are helping our local community protect our planet and become more conscious of the environment.

“The scheme is supported by a wonderful group of volunteers that come together to help us sew the bags that make a real difference in our community. It is also a great way to make new friends!”

Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive at the East of England Co-op, said: “When our colleague Veronica asked if we would participate in the Borrow Bags Scheme, we were keen to do as much as possible to provide our support.

“Back in 2008 we made the decision to stop giving away single use carrier bags and we now only offer reusable bags made from compostable or recycled materials. By joining forces with Borrow Bags, we are now pleased to provide another environmentally-friendly option in Felixstowe and Walton.”

Local residents interested in helping to create the bags will be able to join other volunteers for a sewing session at Rosemary Community Café on Stennetts Farm or St Johns Church on Orwell Road. To find out more information about Borrow Bags’ sessions please visit their Facebook page: