The UK Government is planning to extend the £0.05 plastic bag charge to all retailers in the country.

The plan also explores the possibility of doubling the charge to at least £0.10 as part of the country’s efforts to fight marine litter.

The government will launch a consultation process later this year to gather the opinions of relevant stakeholders on the proposed move.

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs noted that the existing £0.05 charge resulted in an 86% fall in plastic bag sales in the supermarkets that took part, reducing plastic bag waste by 13 billion bags in the last two years.

“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.”

Extending the initiative to all shops and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) will allow the government to remove a further estimated three billion bags each year.

Prime Minister Theresa May 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.

“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.”

The proposition follows after the government launched a series of steps to tackle plastic waste, including a ban on microbeads.

The UK Government also unveiled plans to impose a ban on the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.

In addition, the administration is engaged in discussions on introducing a deposit-return scheme to increase the recycling of drinks bottles and cans.

Earlier this year, the Prime Minister pledged more than £61m in aid to support global research and assist countries in the fight against marine pollution.

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