THERESA MAY will today pledge to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within 25 years as she unveils a long-term plan for the environment.
The prime minister (pictured) will dub the problem ‘one of the great environmental scourges of our time’.
In a speech in London, she will say: ‘We look back in horror at some of the damage done to our environment in the past and wonder how anyone could have thought that, for example, dumping toxic chemicals, untreated, into rivers was ever the right thing to do.
‘In years to come, I think people will be shocked at how today we allow so much plastic to be produced needlessly. In the UK alone, the amount of single-use plastic wasted every year would fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls.’
As part of the plan, supermarkets will be urged to introduce aisles where shoppers can pick up products which are not packaged in plastic. And the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags will be extended to all retailers in England.
However, there were no proposals for a ‘latte levy’ on disposal coffee cups, as recommended by MPs.
Patrick Begg, from the National Trust, said it looked as if the plan would be ‘pretty comprehensive’. But he warned: ‘The biggest issue will be whether the plan will have the institutions and laws to ensure it really delivers across the UK.’
Greenpeace campaigner Louise Edge dubbed the announcement ‘a missed opportunity’. She said: ‘The overall plastics plan lacks urgency, detail and bite.’
■ HIGH street retailer Marks & Spencer will stop selling its £2.50 ‘cauliflower steak’ after shoppers branded the vegetable slice ‘ridiculous’. Customers also raised concerns that the product, wrapped in plastic, posed a potential risk to the environment with its ‘wasteful’ packaging. Many also pointed out a whole cauliflower can cost just 69p. ‘On this occasion we didn’t get it right,’ said an M&S spokesman.