Plastic bags could finally become a thing of the past after a minister said the government would consider banning them.
Despite attempts to cut their use, the number of single-use bags given out at shop checkouts rose by 330million last year – a figure that the recycling minister, Lord Henley, said he was “not happy” about.
The minister said “additional measures” may have to be considered if the situation did not improve and suggested that an outright ban was “an option that one could look at”.
The campaign, founded by the Daily Mail, was backed by both David Cameron, the Prime Minister, and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, in opposition, and had initial success. But with use of carrier bags rising, the campaign appears to have lost impetus.
By May 2009, the number of plastic bags handed out at checkout had been cut by 48 per cent to 6.1billion a year, but last year the figure rose to 6.4 billion, according to figures from the Government’s waste management agency Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
Lord Henley said: “We want to make it easy for individuals and organisations to do the right thing, because a great many of them want to do just that.”