Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Plastic bag charge: 5p levy to be extended in England

Plastic bag charge: 5p levy to be extended in England Plastic bag charge: 5p levy to be extended in England
Nellie Chapman | 10 January, 2018, 19:44

At a Cabinet briefing on Tuesday the Prime Minister said she wanted her Government to take a stand against the "profligate" use of natural resources as she discussed a new 25-year Environment Plan. Shops with fewer than 250 employees are now exempt from the charge that was introduced to large stores in England in 2015.

Consumers in England could find themselves paying 5p for plastic bags in nearly all shops under new Government plans.

Now just over half of all plastic bottles are recycled but having consulted on so-called "reward and return" schemes in Australia and Denmark the Environment Secretary is expected to roll-out similar plans for the UK.

Theresa May will tomorrow launch a fresh crackdown on plastic waste, as part of the government's long awaited 25 Year Plan for Nature.

A separate proposal to introduce plastic bottle deposit return schemes in supermarkets is not ready to be announced yet. In addition, he is said to be considering plans to tackle disposable coffee cup waste, although it remains to be seen if he will embrace the Environmental Audit Committee's recent recommendation for a 25p "latte levy".

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.

At the Cabinet meeting, Mr Gove praised the results of a 5p plastic bag charge, which he said has resulted in a 90% decline in use, and promised a series of new initiatives on Thursday.

Government sources have said ministers are open to the idea of a coffee cup charge if evidence shows it would change behaviour.

May and Environment Secretary Michael Gove briefed the Cabinet on the plans yesterday, arguing they were needed to tackle the UK's "throwaway culture".

The current patchwork of regimes means many types of plastic are not collected from households.