Plastic bag charge to rise to 10p and be extended to every shop

Prime minister set to announce the changes as part of plans to tackle pollution

Henry Austin
Saturday 25 August 2018 00:11 BST
Tide of plastic rubbish discovered floating off idyllic Caribbean island coastline

The plastic bag charge is set to rise to 10p and be extended to every shop, according to reports.

Theresa May is expected to announce the changes as part of plans to tackle plastic pollution, The Daily Telegraph reported. Currently shops that employ more than 250 people have to charge at least 5p per bag.

Under the new measures, the fee would double to 10p and include all retailers.

Disposable carrier bags issued by the seven biggest supermarket chains have declined by 86 per cent since the charge was introduced in 2015, official figures showed.

Donations from the bag levy to good causes amounted to over £58.5m, based on figures from two-thirds of the retailers who voluntarily reported the information.

Ministers also previously announced an intention to ban the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds and plans for a deposit return scheme to increase recycling rates of drinks bottles and cans.

Earlier this year government scientists found the number of plastic bags found on the seabed around the UK had plummeted, suggesting efforts to combat plastic pollution was working.

Researchers compiled data on 25 years’ worth of plastic trawled from the bottom of the sea to examine litter trends in the waters surrounding the UK.

The findings were based on the analysis of nearly 2500 ocean trawls conducted by ships between 1992 and 2017.

However the impact of plastic in the marine environment is still poorly understood. Animals are known to die after consuming or becoming tangled in litter and plastic has even been implicated in spreading diseases around coral reefs.

Measures to tackle plastic waste have been backed by The Independent’s own Cut the Cup Waste campaign, which found the majority of the British public would be in favour of a 25p charge added to coffee cups.

However, ministers rejected the levy proposal in March, drawing criticism from environmental organisations.

Press Association contributed to this report

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