Data published by WRAP has shown that 8.3 billion thin-gauge (single use) carrier bags were used by supermarket customers in 2013.
This represents an increase of 3.2 per cent compared with 2012 when 8.1 billion bags were used. However, compared to 2006 when 12.2 billion bags were taken by consumers, this represents a decreased of 32 per cent.
The overall number of bags, including reusable bags, issued by supermarkets in 2013 totaled 8.8 billion. This compares to 8.5 billion bags in 2012 and 12.4 billion bags in 2006.
In 2013, the total weight of all bags including reusable bags was 67,300 tonnes, compared with 70,400 tonnes in 2012, which represents a 4.4 per cent decrease. Overall, there has been a 39 per cent decrease in the weight of carrier bags from the baseline year of 2006.
Between 2006 and 2013, there has been a 48 per cent reduction in the amount of virgin polymer used in all carrier bags between the baseline of 2006 and 2013.
The growth in carrier bag use over the past year will strengthen the argument for the introduction of a carrier bag charge in Scotland in October, to be followed by England in 2015. Wales already has a 5p carrier bag charge.