China is to ban the use of plastic bags in an attempt to reduce the estimated three billion used in the country every day.

From 1 June, plastic bags handed out by supermarkets will be banned and shoppers will have to either pay for a new bag or reuse an old one.

“While providing convenience to consumers, they have also caused serious pollution, and waste of energy and resources, because of excessive use and inadequate quality recycling,” the Chinese Central Government said in a statement. “We should encourage people to return to carrying cloth bags, using baskets for their vegetables.”