Carrier bags: more popular than ever
The number of bags handed out by UK retailers rose for the fourth year in a row in 2013 to more than 8.3 billion.
In England alone, the number of single-use bags rose 5% from just over seven billion in 2012 to 7.4 billion in 2013.
The Government are all up for the 5p levy that will be introduced in October 2015, but what about the bags NOW man? They're there. Accumulating up like a mountain of manky plastic. Suffocating us all slowly.
The Government was forced to admit plans to also exempt biodegradable bags will not come in when the levy is introduced, because no such bag currently exists.
Northern Ireland saw their bag numbers plummet by 71% as a charge was introduced in April 2013, whereas Wales saw an 18% increase last year, but its use of carrier bags is a fraction of other parts of the UK following the introduction of a 5p charge in the country. The number of bags handed out in Wales has fallen by 79% since 2010. In Scotland, which is bringing in a levy this year, there was a 6% increase in the number of plastic bags handed out by retailers.
It's good news for the more robust "bags for life" as they've almost doubled since 2006, up from 245 million that year to 424 million in 2013.
A unnamed spokeswoman for the Environment Department (Defra) said: "Countries with the 5p charge have seen a dramatic fall in the number of plastic bags taken from supermarkets - that is why we are introducing a charge in England from October 2015."
"Our approach will help us reduce plastic bag usage and the litter they cause, while also protecting small and medium-sized businesses from any regulatory burdens at a time when the Government is supporting new growth in our economy."