Plastic waste crackdown: Theresa May to declare war on 'throwaway culture'

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The 5p charge for plastic bags in large shops in England is set to be extended to cover almost all carrier bags, as part of new plans for the environment.

Currently, large businesses who have more than 250 or more employees are required to charge for single-use plastic carrier bags.

May and environment secretary Michael Gove are said to have briefed the cabinet on the plan on Tuesday.

However, much of the long-awaited 25 Year Plan for Nature remains under wraps, with little indication as what action it will take on wider issues such as soil erosion, biodiversity loss, resource security, and climate resilience.

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Mrs May yesterday told Cabinet the Government has "a clear belief in conserving what is good and standing up against the profligate use of resources, whether that is public money or natural resources".

Mr Gove, who showed off his new reusable coffee mug as he walked into No10 yesterday, is also expected to announce measures to cut the 2.5billion disposable coffee cups wasted in the United Kingdom every year.

In his budget in November, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced plans for a tax increase on other disposable plastic items such as takeaway boxes and plastic bottles.

Mr Gove showed he was ready to practise what he preached, by turning up for the meeting clutching a reusable coffee mug.

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Since introducing the scheme the number of bags used has decreased by more than 80 percent in England.

A consultation on extending the charge is to be part of the plan, witt one option that it be rolled out on a voluntary basis.

He will set out goals to emulate the success of the 5p plastic bag tax, which has led to a 90 per cent reduction in use.

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".

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

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