Theresa May : Campaigners slam United Kingdom plans on cutting plastic waste

Brits to get 5p for recycling plastic bottles — as Michael Gove ditches his throwaway cup

May extends 5p plastic bag charges to all small shops in bid to end Britain's 'throwaway culture'

Commenting on the announcement, Pippa Tyrell of local environmental group Transition Wilmslow, says: "What most seem to forget is that people are not paying the 5p plastic bag charge; plastic bag use has dropped by 85%".

Marcus Gover, CEO at WRAP, said: "So far the solutions to plastic waste have been piecemeal".

She said: "We will incorporate all existing European Union environmental regulations into domestic legalisation when we leave".

An estimated 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced since the 1950s and research suggests this figure could to jump to 34 billion tonnes by 2050 unless urgent action is taken to cut demand.

By leading the world in setting such a target for the end to plastic pollution, Mrs May will sat that the United Kingdom is "demonstrating global leadership [that] will also do more to help developing nations tackle pollution and reduce plastic waste, including through United Kingdom aid".

I understand that the document will cover many policy areas, including: managing land sustainably; enhancing nature and recovering wildlife; increasing people's health and well-being through nature; resource efficiency, reduction of pollution and waste and protecting and improving the global environment.

Ministers have been under political pressure to do more for the environment after it was identified by the Tory think-tank Bright Blue as the key issue for young voters, who failed to back the party in large numbers at the 2017 general election.

She added: "With the promise of a new Resource and Waste Strategy this year it is vital we get the details right and this means a root and branch reform of Producer Responsibility thinking in the United Kingdom and the channelling of much needed funds to councils to support household recycling".

However, the organisation warned that the government needs to develop a strategy to help retailers shift to a circular economy.

"But what are we going to do in the short term to make that happen?"

At present, shops with fewer that 250 employees are exempt from the levy, which according to the government has contributed to an nearly 90 per cent reduction in use of single-use plastics bags in England since its introduction in October 2015.

The plan will be unveiled on Thursday and Whitehall sources confirmed that a consultation on extending the plastic bag charge will form part of it.

"A comprehensive approach will ensure that we avoid unintended consequences", said Andrew Opie, director of food policy at the BRC.

The independent retailers' federation NFRN welcomed proposals to extend the plastic bag charge to smaller stores in England. He added: "There was much to welcome".

But critics of the plan have called it a "missed opportunity" and say it should be underpinned by new laws in order to hold the Government and businesses to account. "This is the right ambition, setting us apart from a race to the bottom that would only end badly for the United Kingdom".

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