Scottish retailers have seen carrier bag usage drop by 650 million units since the 5p charge was introduced last October.

Sainsbury’s, which stopped selling single-use bags altogether, reduced use by 100%. Morrisons, the Co-operative Group and Waitrose have recorded a reduction of 80% and Asda has seen usage drop by 90%.

“Asda customers have reduced their single-use carrier bag usage by more than 90% since the introduction of the charge,” said Asda VP Scotland Kevin McBride.

“We want to ensure that this policy has long-term social - as well as environmental - benefits, which is why we have chosen to invest the proceeds of more than £700,000 in local good causes and innovative social enterprises the length and breadth of Scotland.”

Across all Scottish retailers the 5p per bag charge has raised funds of about £6.7m for charity.

“The 5p charge has been a major success with the number of single-use bags down by a staggering 650 million, and with nearly £7m raised for good causes,” said Scotland environment secretary Richard Lochhead.

“Previously statistics showed that people in Scotland used more than 800 million new single-use carrier bags every single year - more per head than anywhere else in the UK. I thank Scotland for embracing this policy and showing we’re serious about tackling litter, reducing waste and creating a cleaner, greener environment for everyone to enjoy. I am confident that Scotland is going to go from strength to strength in its bid to tidy up our streets and beaches, where litter has been a highly visible problem in the past.”