August 30, 2018 / 2:31 PM / in 2 months

Britain to consider doubling charge on single-use plastic bags

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government said on Thursday it was considering doubling a 5 pence (six cents) charge for single-use plastic bags and extending it to all shops.

Shoppers carry bags on Oxford Street in London, Britain December 18, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

Since October 2015, large retailers in England have been legally required to impose the charge, a measure which the government says has seen plastic bag sales in England’s seven biggest supermarkets drop by 86 percent.

The government will launch a consultation later this year setting out plans to increase the charge to 10 pence and extend its reach. Small-and-medium-sized businesses are estimated to supply more than three billion plastic bags each year, it said.

“We have taken huge strides to improve the environment, and the charge on plastic bags in supermarkets and big retailers has demonstrated the difference we can achieve by making small changes to our everyday habits,” Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement.

“I want to leave a greener, healthier environment for future generations, but with plastic in the sea still set to treble we know we need to do more to better protect our oceans and eliminate this harmful waste.”

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison

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