In 2015, Britain introduced a charge of 5 pence on all single-use plastic bags provided by large shops, which led to an 83 percent reduction in United Kingdom plastic bags used in the first year.
"In years to come, I think people will be shocked at how today we allow so much plastic to be produced needlessly", May will say. Much of this waste ends up in waterways and oceans, May said, with one in three fish caught in the Channel containing pieces of plastic.
However, opposition leaders and environmental campaigners were quick to condemn the proposals as dangerously insufficient.
The UK government has unveiled a bold plan to eradicate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.
"This could be a turning point for the UK's relationship with the environment, where we begin to restore nature rather than destroy it".
"The overall plastics plan lacks urgency, detail and bite", she said.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats criticised the government's strategy claiming that 25 years was too long and that action on plastic packaging was needed now.
In a speech on the environment, May will announce plans to close the exemption that means retailers with fewer than 250 employees do not have to charge customers 5 pence for a single-use plastic bag.
Greenpeace said the announcements on plastics were "a missed opportunity", with a particular omission being no plans for a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles, which the group said was shown to work well. The plan will also continue the five pence (about eight United States cents) charge for plastic bags in shops, increase government funding for research in plastic innovation, and push efforts to support decreased pollution and plastic use in developing countries.
It already applies elsewhere in Britain and to larger stores in England.
However, in a statement, the British Plastic Federation (BPF) said that it was "very disturbed" at the tone of the Prime Minister's language and it did not recognise the 170,000 jobs that the plastics industry brings to the UK.
Downing Street said it would examine how the tax system or charges could encourage industry to take more responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products, with a consultation on reducing the volume of single-use plastics starting next month. "We must reduce the demand for plastic, reduce the number of plastics in circulation and improve our recycling rates", May will add.
In a speech in London, Mrs May will pledge "action at every stage of the production and consumption of plastic", targeting manufacturers and the supermarkets which sell thousands of items wrapped in single-use plastic.
Britain will direct some of its global development aid towards tackling pollution and reducing plastic waste overseas.