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Plastic bag charge could double to 10p

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

The government is to consult on increasing the minimum 5p charge for plastic bags to 10p as it pledges to further tackle the global challenge of marine litter.

As part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Kenya, she has today announced the government is to consult on doubling the plastic bag charge to 10p and extending the 5p plastic bag charge to all retailers, not just big businesses.

The consultation will be launched later in the year as the PM said the government wants to “tackle the blight of plastic waste and leave the environment in a better state than we found it”.

To date, plastic bag sales from England’s big seven supermarkets have dropped 86% with 13 billion plastic bags taken out of circulation in the past two years.

But more than three billion bags are estimated to be supplied by small and medium sized businesses each year.

May said: “We have taken huge strides to improve the environment, and the charge on plastic bags in supermarkets and big retailers has demonstrated the difference we can achieve by making small changes to our everyday habits.

“I want to leave a greener, healthier environment for future generations, but with plastic in the sea still set to treble we know we need to do more to better protect our oceans and eliminate this harmful waste.

“Today’s announcement is the latest step in the government’s ongoing fight against plastic, both at home and abroad.”

Recent policy announcements include a ban on micro-beads and plans to ban the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds as well as the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drink bottles and cans.