THE Co-op store in Lyme Regis is contributing to the campaign to turn Lyme green by introducing a new range of eco carrier bags.

The Broad Street store is one of the first in the UK to stock home-compostable carrier bags, with the aim of encouraging shoppers to reduce the use of free throwaway plastic bags.

The move comes in support of a community-led project to dramatically reduce the use of plastic bags in the town, a campaign being led by environmental group Turn Lyme Green.

The group's Candida Blaker said: "We're very pleased that the widespread local support to Turn Lyme Green has led to the introduction of home compostable and 'Bags for Life' in the Co-op's Lyme Regis store.

"This will help local shopkeepers who are already switching to alternatives, and is a significant step towards taking plastic bags out of circulation."

Staff are being briefed so they can answer any questions from interested customers and encourage them to use the green bags, while window posters and shelf labels will highlight the initiative.

Information leaflets on home composting will also be available.

As well as the home compostable bag, shoppers will also be able to choose from a Fairtrade cotton 'Bag for a Better Life' or a plastic 'Bag for Life', which the Co-operative replaces free and then recycles.

Recycling bins for the throwaway plastic bags are also being installed in the stores.

The new bags were launched in Lyme Regis on Monday.

Store manager Jim Pigott said: "The ultimate aim of this initiative is to see if we can help reduce the use of plastic bags.

"In order to do that we need to show shoppers that there are alternatives to plastic bags and that by using them we can help reduce the impact on the environment.

"It's about winning over the hearts and minds of customers."

The home-compostable bags are 6p, the Fairtrade cotton bags are 99p and the plastic Bag for Life is 10p.

Find out more about Lyme's eco drive at free events organised by Turn Lyme Green in the Marine Theatre on Saturday, March 22, from 10.30am to 3pm.