Medicines at Boots are to be packaged in 100 per cent compostable pharmacy bags that are made from potato starch.
The high street chemist has announced that from this month, the new bags will start to be rolled out to some of its customers and by next March, more than 10 million prescription bags each year will be made using compostable material instead of traditional plastic.
The bags can then be used as a bin liner for food waste, rather than being destined for landfill and adding to the plastic crisis.
Richard Bradley, pharmacy director at Boots UK, said: “This is yet another positive step forward in our focus on sustainability throughout our 170-year history, and the current journey we are on to reduce the impact our business has on the environment.
“At the start of this year, our customers told us they didn’t want to receive their medicines in plastic bags, and we have been testing alternative materials for some time. So, we are thrilled that our new compostable bags allow us to continue to deliver medicines to patients in a way that is safe, clean and dry, whilst helping to reduce our reliance on conventional plastic.”
In addition, the company is planning to reduce its plastic use by around 1,300 tonnes per year, using a variety of methods. This will include removing 149 tonnes of plastic from its own-brand Christmas gift ranges and reducing the plastic packaging used in its deliveries by 76 per cent.
The goals are expected to save around 136 tonnes of plastic every year and Boots has set a target of becoming 100 per cent plastic free in online deliveries by the end of 2020. The company also made the switch to unbleached (brown) paper carrier bags as standard, removing more than 900 tonnes of plastic from its stores each year.