Sixteen years ago, the ground-breaking ‘I Am Not A Plastic Bag campaign* raised awareness of the global issue of single use plastic bags. Since then, the use of single use plastic bags has reduced dramatically, with sales falling 95% in the main supermarkets between 2015 – 2020, after the UK Government introduced legislation to address the issue. Whilst this is fantastic progress, nearly half a billion single use plastic bags were still sold in the UK between 2021 – 2022, according to recent Government data.1
Anya Hindmarch, in collaboration with food retailers globally, has created a new campaign designed to inspire further change in consumer behaviour, creating a new shopping bag solution and encouraging a greater reuse mindset. This Spring sees the launch of the two latest versions together with two of the UK’s biggest food retailers, Asda and Co-op.
The Universal Bag is the next generation of reusable bag; a desirable, durable, reusable, 100% recycled and recylable shopping bag designed for everyone to take everywhere, for everything.
The Asda version, available from the end of February in 300 stores nationwide, will be in their brand green, while the Co-op version, available from 315 stores nationwide from end March, will be in their brand blue. These partnerships follow hugely successful, ongoing editions with Sainburys’, Waitrose and Selfridges Food Halls in the UK and City’SUPER in Hong Kong. More global partnerships will be announced later in the year.
Joining hands together with two of the UK’s biggest food retailers marks a huge milestone in the rollout of the Universal Bag project with Asda and Co-op joining the collaborative campaign to create a new generation shopping bag.
Designed by Anya Hindmarch, and manufactured by the Solent Group, the Universal Bag, retails with all partners for £10 and comes with a 10 year guarantee. Should a customer wish to recycle the bag, it can simply be folded it into its free returns pocket for a replacement.
Anya Hindmarch proudly partners with both Asda and Co-op, each of whom are committed to bold sustainability strategies to lessen impact and protect and conserve the world around us. By working together with such powerful retailers, the hope is that the Universal Bag can play a valuable part in our shared mission to keep reducing single use plastic consumption.
THE UNIVERSAL BAG
- The Asda Universal Bag will be available in their brand green in 300 stores nationwide from the end of February and will retail for £10.
- The project, open to all food retailers globally, allows each partner to create their own exclusive version of the Universal Bag in keeping with their own brand.
- The Universal Bag is made from 100% recycled plastic and each step and material used in making the bag has been fully certified under the Global Recycling Scheme (GRS) making this a truly 100% recycled product.
- Each Universal Bag is guaranteed to last ten years having been extensively tested for durability.
- The Universal Bag features an innovative, convenient freepost returns pocket built into a pocket inside the bag. You simply turn the bag into its built-in pocket which acts as a pre addressed envelope, and then post it through a letter box. It is then 100% recycled locally.
- In addition to being practical and durable, the Universal Bag is also designed to be desirable. By creating a bag that customers feel excited to be seen with and are motivated to take care of, reuse is expected to increase, tackling one of the major issues still surrounding the shopping bag.
- In line with the collaborative philosophy of this project, Anya Hindmarch and its production partner Solent Group, have committed to share the learnings from this project with all global retailers on request, with the ambition to advance progress in the use, reuse and recycling of shopping bags around the world.
Anya Hindmarch, Founder and Creative Director, comments:
“Since launching The Universal Bag, we have saved over 97 tonnes of virgin plastic from landfill, the equivalent weight of over 8 London double decker buses. The problem of single use plastic is far from solved. Working together with major global food retailers shows how the solution needs to be collaborative and that together we can make a big difference.”
Sam Dickson, Acting Chief Customer Officer at ASDA comments:
“We’re thrilled to partner with Anya Hindmarch on the Universal Bag project and support such an important issue. The opportunity to create our own exclusive version meant we were able to give our customers a great quality, sustainable product, in our trademark ‘Asda green’! I’m sure shoppers will be very excited at the prospect of picking up an Anya Hindmarch bag in store during their weekly shop and we can’t wait to see the response.”
Ashley Symonds, CEO Solent, comments:
“Both Anya and Solent have a shared heritage in creating and producing market disrupting initiatives that help customers to lead healthier and more sustainable lives. We are delighted to have partnered with Anya and her team on the Universal Bag which further supports the reduction and need for single use plastics. The Universal Bag is a beautiful and high performing product that encourages customers to buy into reusability and sustainability; it’s not a bag you’d ever feel comfortable throwing in the bin. Given the durability of the bag, ideally, it will never need to be recycled but, if it does, we have made it easy for the customer to get it back into the recycling stream – a process that has never been done before. The Universal Bag is a true market first and another step change in our mission to end single use plastic bag usage once and for all.”