The UK's largest grocery chain Tesco today (4 August) unveiled plans to financially reward customers for not using plastic carrier bags, offering clubcard points in an attempt to be more environmentally friendly.

Clubcard holders will receive points for every bag they don't use. One clubcard point is usually awarded for every pound spent.

"We're kicking off the scheme with TV ads featuring celebrities to really catch the public's attention. We're hoping that people will respond positively and do their bit for the environment by reusing old bags," a Tesco spokesperson told just-food. Celebrities featured in the adverts include Martine McCutcheon, Paul Daniels, Ronnie Corbett, Alan Whicker, Alan Titchmarsh and Frankie Dettori.

Announcing the scheme, Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy said: "Carrier bags are an important part of the shopping trip, providing convenience for millions of customers, especially those who walk to our stores. But we know that many people are concerned about how many bags they use."

Leahy said that the scheme is the end result of research, customer consultation and testing to identify a workable way to cut down the use of carrier bags in stores.

"The results of our research tell us that we have to move the emphasis away from trying to force change and on to rewarding positive behaviour. In other words a more carrot than stick approach," Leahy continued.

"Clubcard has changed the way we serve customers over the last ten years and made us a more responsive business. Now I believe we can use it to respond to the very real concerns people have over environmental issues like carrier bags and bring about a major shift in behaviour. Our aim is to cut the number of bags we give out by 25% over the next two years - if we make it, that's a billion fewer bags per year."