Over 13 billion plastic shopping bags are given out in the UK every year. We only use plastic bags for around 20 minutes.
Carrier bags today use 70% less plastic than they did 20 years ago. However, the most environmentally conscious thing to do is to avoid plastic carrier bags altogether. Why not take a cloth or string bag with you when you go shopping next? They are much stronger and won’t cut into your hands.
Most supermarkets also offer 'Bags for Life' schemes where you buy a more durable plastic bag for 10p and when it wears out the cashier replaces it for free and the old bag gets recycled.
In-store recycling banks for carrier bags are also available in some supermarkets or sometimes you have the option to hand the bags back to the driver if your shopping is delivered to your home.