Despite repeated calls for customers to cut down on the number of plastic bags they use, figures from waste reduction group Wrap show that shoppers are actually using more carriers.
Supermarket customers used almost eight billion plastic bags last year, up 5.4 per cent compared to 2010.
This marked the third year in a row that carrier bag use has risen and suggests more needs to be done to tackle the issue.
However, data showed that in Wales, where a 5p levy on plastic bags has been introduced, the number handed out has dropped by more than a fifth.
Wales's environment minister John Griffiths said: “These results show that the way to significantly reduce the use of single-use carrier bags is for governments to introduce a charge to customers for them. Net profits from single-use bag purchase are donated by retailers to local charities and environmental causes.
“The public have adjusted brilliantly to our bag charge and the majority now regularly take their own bags with them when they go shopping.”
These have the dual effect of attracting customers and being good for the environment.
Store carrier bag numbers up 5.4%, Press Association
Posted by Carl Blackshaw