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25-year Environment Plan launched that aims to boost plastics recycling
12 January 2018, 03:30 | Damon Campbell
5p charge on single-use plastic bags to be extended to corner shops and smaller retailers
Since its introduction in October 2015, this has led to nine billion fewer plastic bags being used, according to the government.
The environmental plan is due to be reviewed every five years, a spokesman for the prime minister said.
Mrs May will say today: "We look back in horror at some of the damage done to..."
UK Prime Minister Theresa May - aiming to tackle plastic waste.
Once people have bought their own refillable coffee cup or water bottle they just need to take it with them every time and will never have to pay these charges.
"In years to come, I think people will be shocked at how today we allow so much plastic to be produced needlessly", added May.
Environment Minister Therese Coffey said the world's oceans were "some of our most valuable natural assets", and she was determined "we act now to tackle the plastic that devastates our precious marine life".
As part of a drive to eradicate single-use plastic items completely from the United Kingdom, the Government will urge shops to introduce "plastic-free" checkouts to encourage customers to think twice about additional packaging.
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She suggested fruit, vegetables and other fresh foods should be sold loose instead of in plastic packaging and said the United Kingdom government will work with supermarkets to encourage them to introduce plastic-free aisles in which all food is loose.
The Government is also investigating introducing a "takeaway tax" on single-use plastic items, such as food containers.
She said the government is to inject new funding into plastics innovation through a 9.5 billion US dollar research and development plan.
On plastics, Mrs May said: "Today I can confirm that the United Kingdom will demonstrate global leadership on plastics. and we must reduce demand and increase recycling rates".
Core plastics strategies outlined in the document involve promoting more efficient use of resources through better reuse, remanufacturing and recycling - combined with efforts to reduce consumption of disposable plastic products.
"The environment secretary also said that he was working collaboratively with the secretary of state for global development to look at using aid money on the environmental agenda, such as reducing pollution by plastics", the spokesperson added.
Sue Hayman, the shadow environment secretary, said the 5p bag charge was already in place for smaller shops in Scotland and Wales, meaning the government was "simply playing catch-up". The small shop exemption was introduced by the government against the wishes of retailers.
Dame Ellen MacArthur, whose Ellen MacArthur Foundation works closely with the plastics industry and industry associations such as PlasticsEurope to develop a circular economy for plastics, also welcomed the announcement, but insisted that the approach to tackling plastic waste and achieving circularity must include the entire value chain.
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