Theresa May extends the 5p plastic bag charge to all shops

Theresa May extends the 5p plastic bag charge to all shops”

The 5p plastic bag levy is to be extended as part of Government plans to tackle "throwaway culture" in a 25-year Environment Plan being published later this week.

Theresa May and Defra Secretary Michael Gove will unveil the Government's much-anticipated 25-year Environment Plan on Thursday (11 January).

The Prime Minister said she wanted her Government to take a stand against the "profligate" use of natural resources as she briefed her Cabinet about the plan.

Ms May told the Cabinet the Government had "a clear belief in conserving what is good and standing up against the profligate use of resources, whether that is public money or natural resources".

Chris Noice from the Association of Convenience Stores welcomed the government's plans as being "good for the environment and good for the retailers taking part".

In his budget in November, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced plans for a tax increase on other disposable plastic items such as takeaway boxes and plastic bottles.

The environment secretary told cabinet colleagues that he was determined to reduce demand for single-use bottles when the government unveiled its 25-year plan this week.

The charge applies to every new plastic bag used at large stores in England - but only shops or chains with 250 or more full-time employees.

Government sources have confirmed that it will consult on the extension 5p charge on single-use carrier bags, which has seen nearly a 90% fall in usage since its launch in 2015.

The committee of MPs said the industry should be given five years to make the cups easy to recycle or face an outright ban.

One option on the table would be for the charge to be extended on a voluntary basis, the source said.

Mr Gove is also understood to be considering proposals to encourage retailers to use fewer types of plastic and to persuade councils to adopt a standardised recycling policy.

Now only those chains with 250 employees or more are responsible for collecting the fee.

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