Sainsbury’s has vowed to scrap plastic bags for loose bakery items in all its stores by September, offering paper bags to customers instead.

The move, along with the removal of plastic bags used for loose fruit and vegetables, would save 489 tonnes’ worth of plastic, according to the retailer.

However, paper bags will only be made available to bakery items – not fruit and veg for which customers will be able to purchase a reusable bag or bring their own – as they take up considerably more space than plastic bags.

“Paper bags help to keep loose in-store bakery products fresher for longer but they do not have the same benefit for fruit and veg. Paper bags can also take up to 36 times more space than plastic bags, which affects the number of vehicles we use on the road and our carbon footprint. With this in mind, we’re limiting paper bags to products where they offer an added benefit,” the retailer said in response to a query on Twitter.

It is part of Sainsbury’s plan to cut a further 1,284 tonnes of plastic this year, following existing commitments to remove 1,280 tonnes.

Other changes include removing plastic trays from asparagus and sweetcorn, plastic lids from cream pots and plastic sleeves from herb pots. The supermarket has also committed to replacing black plastic trays and film on fruit and vegetables with recyclable alternatives.

“We are absolutely committed to reducing unnecessary plastic packaging in Sainsbury’s stores. Our customers expect us to be leading the way on major issues like this, so I am determined to remove and replace plastic packaging where we can and offer alternatives to plastic where packaging is still required to protect a product,” said Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe.

Plastic packaging has been a key consideration for bakery manufacturers of late. This week alone Pieminister has introduced NPD in plastic-free packaging, Roberts Bakery rolled out paper packaging across its core 800g loaf range and Premier Foods revealed it had switched out black plastic packaging across its Mr Kipling cakes and pie ranges for clear plastic trays.