Around 80% of Australians would support a 25 cents (US$0.14) levy on plastic bags, according to a recent national survey by Roy Morgan.

The survey, which was commissioned by environmental group Planet Ark, also found that 95% of the 550 people questioned wanted supermarkets and other retailers to introduce biodegradable bags.

Australia uses 6bn plastic bags every year, including some 3.6bn from supermarkets. Environmentalists hope that the levy will decrease the number of bags used by encouraging people to re-use plastic bags or take their own environmentally friendly bags with them when they go shopping.

If the levy is introduced, Australia will be following in the steps of the Republic of Ireland, which introduced a similar levy that resulted in a 90% reduction in the number of plastic bags in circulation.