Northern Ireland ahead of the pack on plastic bag use
Northern Ireland shoppers are leading the UK for dropping their use of single-use carrier bags, new figures show.
The number of carrier bags handed out by UK retailers rose again last year to more than 8.3bn, figures show.
But Northern Ireland saw the number of bags handed out plummet by 71% after a carrier bag charge was introduced in April 2013, making it the only part of the UK to register a fall.
In England, the number of single-use bags from supermarkets rose 5% from just over seven billion in 2012 to 7.4 billion in 2013, the statistics from waste reduction body Wrap revealed.
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. 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.
Westminster has pledged to bring in a 5p levy for single-use plastic bags in England next year.