Person with plastic bags

The cost of a single-use plastic bag in English stores has dropped from 5p to 10p.

All stores, large and small, must apply the fees from Friday. Until now, small retailers were exempt.

The initial 5 pence levy was introduced in England in 2015. Since then bag use has declined by more than 95%.

The Friends of the Earth campaign group urged the government to go even further, saying the bags were part of a bigger plastic problem.

The group welcomed the program, but said it still had “significant gaps”.

Campaigners said the burden should be extended to paper bags, while so-called “life bags”, which are designed to be reused but contain larger amounts of plastic, posed a “growing problem”.

“It appears that many plastic ‘life bags’ are only used once and not reused for the life of the bag, as is their goal,” said the group’s activist for them. plastics, Camilla Zerr.

“If ministers are to get to the root of this problem, they need to take a stronger stand against all single-use plastics.”

The environmental group’s warning has already been heard by supermarkets, including Morrisons and the cooperative, which have halted selling plastic bags for life.

Friends of the Earth said the government’s next environmental bill should include “legally binding targets” to phase out the use of all unnecessary single-use plastic products.

‘Ambitious action’

The average person in England now only buys four single-use carrier bags per year in major supermarkets, up from 140 in 2014.

By extending the levy to all retailers, the government hopes that the use of single-use carrier bags will decrease by 70-80% in small and medium-sized businesses.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Everyone wants to play their part in reducing the scourge of plastic waste that ravages our environment and our oceans.

“The 5p bag charge has been a huge success, but we can do more.”

She added that the new higher load in England “would support the ambitious action” the UK has already taken in its fight against plastic, “as we rebuild greener”.

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