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British lawmakers want to charge for plastic bags

Sept. 14, 2013 at 4:48 PM

LONDON, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- English lawmakers want to introduce a charge for plastic bags to discourage their use, officials said.

A number of government officials worked on the plan because of concerns of environmental impacts of plastic bags, particularly on marine life, the BBC reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was scheduled to unveil the plan at the Liberal Democrat party conference this weekend.

Ministers said the charge, which will only apply to supermarkets and larger stores, will go into effect in 2015 and proceeds will go to charity.

"We are very clear that none of this money will come to government, we are not trying to tax people, we are trying to change people's behavior, encourage much more environmentally friendly behavior," said Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey.

Opponents on the measure say they believe added a charge will have little impact on overall waste.

"This is not just a small share of waste, this is a tiny share of waste," said Matthew Sinclair, from the Taxpayers' Alliance. "And I don't think that for every problem the answer is a new tax. There are already a number of different schemes to encourage people to think about using reusable bags, there are other schemes which involve using the carrot rather than the stick of a new tax."

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