All single-use items, not just plastic, could face charges under a new Government drive to stop Britain’s throw away culture.
A plan to give ministers new powers to bill consumers for using products that can’t be reused or recycled are set to be announced by the Government today.
This could see the 10p carrier bag charge replicated across a raft of other products including coffee stirrers and cutlery.
The campaign is being spearheaded by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, Labour’s Shadow Environment Minister, who passed an amendment to the government’s Environment Bill.
The proposed legislation already makes it easier for ministers to bill consumers for single-use plastics but she wants this to be extended to all single-use products, and it’s said that this change to the Environment Bill will mean they can put an end to here today, gone tomorrow throwaway culture and move towards sustainable alternatives.
The number of single-use plastic carriers issued by the stores has been cut by more than 95 per cent since supermarkets started having to charge more for them.
The charge rose to 10p from 5p on May 21 and now applies to every retailer, from giant supermarket chains to corner shops, small clothes boutiques, butchers, greengrocers and airport duty-free shops.
Before the 5p tax applied only to retailers with more than 250 workers but it’s resulted in the average person in England buying just four bags a year from the big store chains, an enormous decline from 140 bags each in 2014.
Charges for all single-use products would work in the same way as the carrier bag tax, which sees retailers forced to bill customers more with any money raised going to good causes.
However, the detail of the scheme is set to be announced.
Ruth Chambers of the Greener UK coalition said that they welcome this change which is more effective for tackling the single-use culture and that while it was necessary to tackle single-use plastics, some alternatives to plastic disposable items had a greater carbon footprint or introduced other environmental impacts, so what was needed was a shift to reusable and refillable items.
More and more we are living in a nanny state, or should I say a nasty state, and why is that if you purchase something in a plastic bottle or container, you’re being charged for it and not the manufacturer who could easily switch to an environmentally friendly packaging? This just reeks of yet more taxes and costs on already hard up ordinary people – this has nothing to do with money being raised for good causes – the good causes are just the government’s coffers.
They could very easily introduce the plastic bottle recycling machines they have in Scandinavia where you feed your bottles in and get cash or a token to spend in the supermarket, but of course, this is all an excuse to raise taxes so the government can make money from the contracts, just like they did with the pandemic.
And it seems that at the end of the day we will have no choice, the consumer will foot the bill anyhow because we’re just being harvested.
Perhaps we could go back to the days when you bought everything separately because not everyone wants a pack of four or six, that way they could be put into paper bags and you could have as many as you wanted, so perhaps the powers that be could look to the old days where we had very little waste.