A number of environmental proposals are being looked at by the Liberal Democrats to dramatically reduce the levels of packaging used in UK shops. The Lib Dems are looking into a plastic bag tax and a bag deposit scheme. Members will assess whether a plastic bag tax will help to cut carbon emissions, if voted into power. It also proposes that retailers have a plastic bag deposit scheme, to help encourage customers to reuse their plastic bags. As part of the scheme supermarkets will also have to take back unwanted packaging, in order to cut the amount of waste reaching landfill. UK households produce 26 million tonnes of waste each year, of which five million tonnes is packaging. Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson said: Millions of tonnes of unnecessary packaging are dumped in Britains landfill sites every single year. Despite an increase in recycling, domestic waste has risen by a fifth since 1997, which is completely unacceptable. A party survey of UK supermarkets found that more than 17 billion plastic bags are thrown away each year. It also said that packaging accounts for around 17% of the average household food budget. It makes no environmental sense to over-package products and no economic sense to charge frustrated consumers for packaging they do not need. Government, supermarkets and producers need to act to stop this flood of packaging at its source.