Boots plans to replace plastic carrier bags with paper alternatives across 53 stores today, with the entirety of its store estate to switch over by next year.

The health and beauty giant has vowed to replace plastic bags across its 2,485-strong store estate with unbleached brown paper bags by early 2020, a move the retailer said will remove over 900 tonnes of plastic from Boots store operations per year.

Boots will continue to charge shoppers up to 10p for store paper carrier bags, with all profits donated to long-term charity partner BBC Children in Need.

Senior vice president and UK managing director Seb James said: “Plastic waste is undoubtedly one of the most important issues around the world today with TV shows like Blue Planet highlighting the effects of plastic pollution.

“This year, we are transforming Boots as we celebrate 170 years, and the move to unbleached paper bags is another pivotal moment in that journey. There is no doubt that our customers expect us to act and this change signifies a huge step away from our reliance on plastic.”

Recent research across 6,000 Boots shoppers found that 92% are concerned about the number of plastic bags used in the UK and 94% agree that paper bags are preferable.

Marketing director Helen Normoyle added: “We have seen a significant shift in our customers’ attitudes towards plastics and recycling in recent years – there’s never been a more important time to show our customers that we’re taking action to reduce our impact.”