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Chancellor ponders single use plastic tax

Chancellor Philip Hammond has said that he will investigate the potential for using a tax on single-use plastic items, such as drinks bottles, cups and takeaway packaging, to cut the amount of plastic waste polluting seas and oceans.

Hammond said he would work with environment secretary Michael Gove to look at the proposal, which could add 30p to the cost of a 500ml drink. Supporters of the idea, including charities Greenpeace and WWF, point to the success of the plastic bag tax in reducing usage by 85% in the UK.

One proposal is that consumers would be charged the tax, and have it refunded when they recycled the item. It is estimated that 10% of the 300 million tons of plastic produced globally each year, ends up in the sea.

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