Germany is planning to enforce a ban on plastic shopping bags, according to the country’s environment minister.

On Sunday, Svenja Schulze announced that the country will impose the ban after voluntary agreements with retailers to curb usage have been sufficient but not yet yielded good enough results.

An agreement reached with German businesses in 2016 has already been successful in reducing plastic bag consumption, with many consumers now paying for plastic bags.

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According the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, there has been a 64 per cent decline in plastic bag use since 2015.

“My ministry will get a plastic bag ban on its way,” Schulze told the Bild am Sonntag, a national Sunday newspaper published in Berlin. 

Schulze did not give a timetable for the plan but added that her aim was “that we get out of the throw-away society and that overall, we use less plastic”. 

The move forms part of a wider strategy by the European parliament to tackle the use of plastics in an effort to improve pollution.

Disposable plastic bag use in England’s main supermarkets has fallen by more than 90 per cent since the introduction of a 5p charge in 2015, according to recent figures.

Meanwhile, plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds are to be banned in England from April next year.

The environment secretary Michael Gove confirmed the ban after an open consultation revealed “overwhelming” public support for the move.

“Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment,” Gove said.

“These items are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our seas and oceans and harming precious marine life.

“So today I am taking action to turn the tide on plastic pollution, and ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations.”

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