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Plastic bag charge ‘to double to 10p and will also affect smaller retailers’

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The 5p charge for plastic bags is set to double to 10p, according to reports.

The measure will apparently be introduced across supermarkets and smaller retailers after the initial levy led to a dramatic drop in their use.

Ministers are reportedly set to include a discussion on the move in a consultation on the government’s plan to end Britain’s “throwaway culture” next week.

But Prime Minister Theresa May and Environment Secretary Michael Gove are said to have approved the measure already.

Supermarkets have had to charge 5p on all single-use bags since 2015.

Firms and shops with less than 250 employees are exempt from the scheme, but when the price is increased it will be rolled out across the high street and newsagents too.

Plastic bags have been found dumped in our oceans
Image:
Plastic bags have been found dumped in our oceans

In July “the big seven” supermarkets said there had been a decrease of 86% in plastic bags since the 5p charge was introduced.

Figures showed customers bought almost a quarter fewer plastic bags last year compared to the year before – a decline of 300 million bags

The decline is equivalent to 19 bags per person compared to 140 bags since the government charge was brought in.

The move has helped ease the impact of plastic waste on the environment.

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.

A consultation on using the tax system to combat waste is considering measures such as the “latte levy” on coffee cups.

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