5p charge on plastic bags could be extended to smaller shops

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Environmental groups on Thursday welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May's 25-year plan to create a "cleaner, greener Britain" by eliminating plastic waste, but said it did not go far enough. So far, nine billion fewer plastic bags have been used as a direct effect of introducing the charge.

However, the BPF wants to emphasise the important benefits that the plastics industry brings to the United Kingdom, including 170,000 jobs, as well as the environmental advantages of utilising plastics, such as cutting fuel consumption, preventing food waste, reduced emissions and its place in the fight against climate change.

Launched in June 2017, the Bill outlines plans for an outright ban on single-use non-recyclable plastics such as coffee cups and plastic cutlery by 2020.

Reacting to the speech Deborah Tomkins, also from Green Christian, said: "It's a good start in the right direction, I think we can all agree with that..."

May said the measures outlined in the strategy demonstrated the "global leadership" role on the environment the United Kingdom was keen to take.

She called plastic waste "one of the great environmental scourges of our time", adding: "In the United Kingdom alone, the amount of single-use plastic wasted every year would fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls".

Dan Damon talked to Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet which wants to see plastic-free aisles in supermarkets as part of its campaign against plastic waste.

As part of the phase-out, she plans to encourage supermarkets to set up plastic-free aisles and extend the successful 5p plastic bag charge to all retailers rather than just larger shops.

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Changes to the tax system and charges on single-use plastic items such as takeaway containers would also be considered in the future, while plastic items such as cutlery would be removed from government offices, she said.

Greenpeace praised the Government for wanting to tackle plastic waste, but called the plans a "missed opportunity" which do not match the "scale of the environmental crisis".

"As it is produced, we will encourage manufacturers to take responsibility for the impacts of their products and rationalise the number of different types of plastics they use", she said.

We support regulatory action to extend the plastic bag levy to small retailers.

The prime minister's spokesman added: "The environment secretary also said that he was working collaboratively with the secretary of state for worldwide development to look at using aid money on the environmental agenda, such as reducing pollution by plastics".

Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman MP said the Government's environmental record "is one of failure and broken promises" as she criticised the planned announcements.

It will also seek to strike an accord with the Commonwealth on reducing plastic waste in the oceans when it hosts the group's biennial summit in April.