Dorset shoppers will be among the first to trial lightweight compostable carrier bags.

From today customers at Co-operative food stores in Highcliffe, Corfe Mullen, Colehill, Wareham, Sandford and Wimborne will be handed the bags, which can be used to carry shopping home and then re-used as food waste caddy liners.

It is the first time a large-scale food retailer has given shoppers the option of alternative carrier bags with a specific second use.

The stores have been selected as the local authority has a food recycling scheme which requires householders to use compostable bags for food waste.

The new bags, together with their food waste contents, can be turned into compost.

Julian Rickman, the chain’s regional operations manager in East Dorset, said: “Every compostable carrier bag used is one less conventional plastic shopping bag in circulation. We believe they will have a significant impact on the number of plastic bags which end up in landfill sites every year.”