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Boots moves to 100% recycled brown paper pharmacy bags

20 May 2020
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Boots UK patients will start to receive their medicines in brown paper bags when they collect their prescriptions in store.

The new bags are made from unbleached, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified recycled brown paper; printed with water-based inks so the bags can be easily recycled at home. Sourced and manufactured in the UK, the bags display the On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) standard, which helps patients to recycle correctly and more often.

Initially replacing the white paper pharmacy bags in 50 stores across the UK, the new 100% recycled brown paper bags will be rolled out to all 2,3951 Boots pharmacies by the end of 2020. 

Richard Bradley, Pharmacy Director, Boots UK, said: “We have used white paper bags in our pharmacies for a number of years, but our customers have told us they want to receive their medicines in the most sustainable way. We are thrilled that our new recyclable brown paper pharmacy bags allow our patients to get their medicines in a way that is safe and secure, while helping to reduce the impact our business has on the environment.”

As a proud member of the UK Plastics Pact, Boots switched to unbleached (brown) paper carrier bags as standard in 2019, removing more than 9002 tonnes of plastic from its stores each year. By March 2020, it was also announced that more than 10 million Boots prescription bags sent from its Dispensing Support Pharmacy in Preston would now be made using compostable material rather than traditional plastic each year.

Taking another step in its mission to becoming more sustainable, Boots also reduced the plastic packaging used in its deliveries by 76%, saving 136 tonnes of plastic every year,3 and will endeavour to be 100% plastic free in online deliveries by the end of 2021.

  1. As of 5 May 2020
  2. As of 4 November 2019
  3. 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 2,100 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 30 November 2023