Holland & Barrett: No Plastic Bags

Bag for LifePlastic Bag Free Part of Larger Overall Green Strategy

Holland & Barrett is Europe’s leading retailer of health and food supplements, with an unparalleled range of natural health products all sold at the best value.  Founded back in 1927 by Samuel Ryder of golfing fame, today the company has 539 stores across the U.K.

Holland & Barrett had used on average 7.6 million plastic bags a year so the ban will have a significant environmental impact.  Nationwide, the UK uses an average of 167 plastic bags per person.  That adds up to an astonishing 13,000 plastic bags per person over a lifetime – the majority of which end up in landfills or strewn across the countryside.


In November, CEO Peter Aldis announced a number of changes to make the company one of the most environmentally and ethically friendly on the high street.  The plastic bag ban was one of those changes.  Holland & Barrett has been working  with The Carbon Trust to review their operations to lower their carbon footprint and become more energy efficient.

The "Green" environmental strategy actually began two years ago.  The company formed "Plan-It-Green" in order to benefit the planet.  Holland & Barrett’s core objective for their environmental initiative has been to actively change the way they do their business.  Plan-It Green is a very comprehensive and extensive strategy covering all aspects of the business.  See  "Plan-It-Green".

CEO Challenges High Street Retailers

Holland & Barrett CEO Peter Aldis commented. “Many retailers have introduced half measures such as charging for plastic bags, in a bid to encourage their customers to shy away from using them.  But in reality, no-one has stepped up to the mark and banned plastic bags all together, until now.  We’re the first major retailer to take this stand and I challenge the rest of the high street to follow us and move Britain a step closer to a total bag ban.”

In place of plastic bags, Holland & Barrett is launching two specially designed fabric bags and a paper bag featuring the Large Blue Butterfly – a rare breed that was declared extinct in Britain 25 years ago but has since been successfully reintroduced following a programme by Professor Jeremy Thomas that was funded by Holland & Barrett. The bags will retail at 99p for a large jute butterfly bag, 75p for a small jute butterfly bag, 49p for a Holland & Barrett cotton bag and 4p & 5p for two sizes of paper bag featuring the butterfly motif.  See  Butterfly Bag for Life

Along with their environmental strategy, Holland & Barrett has strict standards as a health retailer.

Key Core Values:

  • All food products are vegetarian
  • Foods are free from hydrogenated fats
  • All products are non irradiated
  • All products are free from Genetically Modified Organisms
  • All skin care and beauty ranges are paraben and SLS free
  • All suppliers have to adopt an ethical policy when sourcing raw materials and in the treatment of their workforce
  • Dedicated team of auditors who regularly monitor care, quality and responsibility exercised by our suppliers

Holland & Barrett, as a world-class retailer, didn't just jump on the bandwagon with banning plastic bags.  Once again, they have set the standard as an environmentally-conscious business.  Time will tell if other high street retailers accept the challenge and meet the standards.

Learn more about the company:  visit Holland & Barrett.com.

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