With UK supermarkets jostling to position themselves as “most green”, Sainsbury’s has announced the introduction of a more environmentally friendly carrier bag.

One-third of the new bag will be made from recycled material and the bags themselves will be recyclable.

The retailer claims that the initiative could save 6,500 tonnes of plastic, or 53,500 barrels of oil, adding that one-third less raw plastic will be used to manufacture the bags. The recycled carrier bag will comprise of 33% recycled material, 10% chalk and 57% raw plastic.

The announcement follows the recent news that Sainsbury’s is introducing compostable packaging to cut unnecessary waste.

“It’s been our aim for some time to tackle what we do with our standard plastic bag because we know this remains a passionate subject for most of our customers. This is a major green step forward because recycling carrier bags, very much like lots of our packaging, means we’re again cutting down on the use of plastic as well as what goes to landfill,” Justin King, Sainsbury’s chief executive, commented.

“Our ultimate aim is to further increase the amount that can be recycled in the bag so that we use even less plastic. We want to encourage all our customers to support our green revolution in food packaging and carrier bags by re-using and re-cycling,” King continued.

The new bags, which will be Sainsbury’s trade mark orange colour, will appear in stores in October.

With clear indications that consumers want retailers to adopt more environmentally responsible policies, this has become the latest battle ground in the contest for shoppers. Asda recently announced a zero-waste to landfill scheme while Tesco has introduced “green” clubcard points awarded each time customers refrains from using new carrier bags.