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Boots move to 100% compostable pharmacy bags

22 November 2019
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From this month, some Boots customers will start to receive their medicines in 100% compostable pharmacy bags, which are made using potato starch and can be used as a bin liner for food waste.

By March 2020, more than 10 million prescription bags each year will be made using compostable material rather than traditional plastic.

Richard Bradley, Pharmacy Director at Boots UK, said, “This is yet another positive step forward in our  focus on sustainability throughout our 170 year history, and the current journey we are on to reduce the impact our business has on the environment. At the start of this year, our customers told us they didn’t want to receive their medicines in plastic bags and we have been testing alternative materials for some time. So, we are thrilled that our new compostable bags allow us to continue to deliver medicines to patients in a way that is safe, clean and dry, whilst helping to reduce our reliance on conventional plastic.”

Boots also has plans to reduce its plastic use by around 1,300 tonnes per year. This includes removing 149 tonnes of plastic from own-brand Christmas gift ranges; reducing the plastic packaging used in its deliveries by 76%[1] saving 136 tonnes of plastic every year; and will endeavour to be 100% plastic free in online deliveries by the end of 2020. This follows Boots switch to unbleached (brown) paper carrier bags as standard, removing more than 900 tonnes of plastic from its stores each year[2].

[1] As of 4 November 2019

[2] based on 2018-19 carrier bag usage


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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and around 1,900 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 31 May 2024