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Fast Retailing to Use 7,800 Fewer Tons of Single-Use Plastics by 2020

With the retail industry’s growing environmental consciousness, single-use plastic bags are quickly becoming obsolete.

The latest company to take steps toward ending their use is Fast Retailing Group, owner of Uniqlo, J Brand, Theory and other international contemporary brands.

On Wednesday, the firm announced plans to eliminate the unnecessary use of single-use plastics, like shopping bags and product packaging, by 85 percent (or around 7,800 tons per year) by the end of 2020.

Instead, brands across 12 international markets will switch to eco-friendly paper bags made from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper, or recycled paper. Stores in Europe that are already using paper bags will switch to recycled versions by September of this year.

The group is also encouraging member brands to sell, and promote the use of, reusable bags. Uniqlo will be one such brand, along with Comptoir des Cotonniers. Both will be selling their own branded, reusable bags starting in September, and charging for every non-reusable shopping bag that consumers request.

Fast Retailing is also beginning to implement verification tests, intended to detect and eliminate plastic in product packaging. From there, the brand will switch to more sustainable alternatives, like recycled or FSC certified paper. These efforts will begin as soon as summer of 2019.

“Environmental pollution from plastic waste is a growing concern worldwide, and Fast Retailing is taking action to reduce unnecessary single-use plastic from its operations,” the group said in a statement.

“This will help minimize the environmental impact of its business, while offering products and services customers can use with confidence.”

Fast Retailing Group said it intends to eventually eliminate all unnecessary plastic from its business.