Sainsbury’s has announced plans to introduce new carrier bags made from 33 per cent recycled materials, saving the retailer 6,500 tonnes of plastic a year.

The bags, created in the supermarket’s trademark orange, will be introduced next month and its old white carrier bags will be phased out by February 2007.

The new bags will be made up of 57 per cent raw plastic and 10 per cent chalk as well as the recycled material.

It is the latest attempt by a UK multiple retailer to try to improve its ‘green’ credentials.

Chief executive Justin King told the press that carrier bags were a “passionate issue” for shoppers. “This is a major green step forward because recycling carrier bags, very much like lots of our packaging, means we're cutting down on the use of plastic as well as what goes to landfill,” he said.

Tesco also pledged this month to introduce biodegradable carrier bags and award loyalty points to shoppers reusing old bags.