THE Liberal Democrats will today call for a complete ban on single-use plastics within the next three years to stem Britain’s “throw-away culture”.

The party conference will discuss the move along with a raft of other environmental measures, including a latte levy on hot beverage cups.

Ahead of the debate, Alistair Carmichael, the former Scottish Secretary, who is leading his own ‘Save Our Seas’ campaign, said the measures were "exactly the kind of ambition this Government needs if we are to reverse the tide of plastic flowing into our oceans".

The MP for Orkney and Shetland claimed the Tories were “full of hot air" and had shown no credible action on the issue of banning plastics.

He explained: "Instead of chasing headlines, Government ministers should be setting out clear and transparent targets to end the plastics crisis. Liberal Democrats demand better than a dithering Conservative Government.

"We demand immediate action to challenge our throw-away culture and to stop the oceans from becoming a plastic soup.

"That is why Liberal Democrats are setting out a comprehensive plan ranging from action internationally and at home, to ideas such as a deposit return scheme and a latte levy," added the Scot.

The proposals also include demands for the Government to prioritise work with the international community and large public sector organisations, such as the NHS and local authorities, to help reduce the amount of single-use plastics, including establishing audit trails to show that plastics are being recycled.

The conference will welcome the UN pledge made by nearly 200 countries, including the UK, to eliminate plastic from the sea as well as the European Commission's proposed ban on the most common single-use plastic items, along with other measures to reduce the amount of plastic waste reaching the oceans.

It will highlight the voluntary pledge by supermarkets to cut plastic packaging as well as the end of using plastic straws.

But it will deplore the failure of the Government to “respond adequately to the seriousness and urgency” of the issue and so will call for legislation to:

*ban non-recyclable single-use plastics with affordable alternatives within three years;

*require all retailers and other organisations to reduce the amount of plastic and non-recyclable packaging they use with immediate action to eliminate hard-to-recycle items such as black plastic and a three-year target to make all plastic packaging either unnecessary, re-usable or recyclable;

*set targets for large public organisations, such as the NHS to reduce their use of plastic and find alternatives;

*implement a deposit system on all food and drink bottles and containers whether they are made from glass, plastic or other materials and

*requiring all retailers and businesses, which produce plastics or use them for their products to pay a levy to contribute towards the cost of necessary recycling services and for larger retailers to be subject to a right-of-return for waste packaging.