Supermarkets will be urged to introduce plastic-free aisles, where shoppers can pick up products which are not packaged in plastic.
The 5p (A9c) charge for plastic carrier bags will be extended to all retailers in England, closing the government’s loophole excluding smaller shops, while taxes and charges on single-use items such as takeaway containers will be considered.
In a speech to launch the long-awaited 25-year environment plan, the Prime Minister will say the problem of plastic waste, much of which ends up as damaging pollution in the seas, is “one of the great environmental scourges of our time”.
“We look back in horror at some of the damage done to our environment in the past and wonder how anyone could have thought that, for example, dumping toxic chemicals, untreated, into rivers was ever the right thing to do,” she is expected to say.
“In years to come, I think people will be shocked at how today we allow so much plastic to be produced needlessly.
Plastic damages wildlife and habitats, washing into the ocean, killing sea birds, mammals and turtles which get tangled in waste and causing harm to marine species which swallow it as food.
May will pledge the UK will show global leadership on the issue, taking action at every stage of the production and consumption of plastic.
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