Scottish Environment minister Ross Finnie said that retailers such as Tesco, Ikea and B&Q had already taken 'a range of actions' to cut down on plastic bag use, but that more needed to be done.
He said that the Executive was working on proposals for plastic bag reduction to be included in a waste prevention plan, which would lead to a voluntary code of practice.
However, he added: 'If agreement cannot be reached then legislation may be considered.'
Finnie was speaking after fellow MSP Mike Pringle announced that he was dropping a proposed Bill that had first raised the issue of plastic bag use.
Pringle said that he was withdrawing his Bill - which would have charged for bag use - as the issue was now 'firmly on supermarkets' agendas'.
He said that if the Executive's proposals did not result in a 'massive decrease' in plastic bags, he would resurrect his proposals.
Similar measures in Ireland and Australia have seen plastic bag use drop by 90 per cent and 45 percent respectively.