Australian retailing giant Coles Myer is set to launch a trial of new biodegradable plastic shopping bags early next year.

The bags, manufactured by Valpak, take between two to four years to degrade into carbon and water. They leave no harmful by-products and disintegrate between 200 and 300 years quicker than the time it takes the bags currently available in grocers’ stores.

The Coles initiative will be launched in coordination with Valpak and the Clean up Australia campaign.