The Welsh Government has urged the rest of the UK to charge shoppers for using carrier bags to help stop waste.

Welsh Environment minister John Griffiths labelled the scheme a “success” a year after its introduction.

Since October 1 2011, shoppers in Wales have had to pay 5p for each plastic bag they have used in a store in order to help ease rubbish levels as plastic bags are difficult to recycle.

Welsh Environment minister John Griffiths said: “I can see no reason why the charge wouldn’t work just as well in other parts of the UK.

“I have been really impressed by the ease with which Welsh retailers and shoppers have adjusted to the charge.

“Their efforts have been key to its success and I can see no reason why the charge wouldn’t work just as well in other parts of the UK.”

Welsh retailers face a fine up to £5,000 if they do not comply with the scheme. The £800,000 raised by the charge has been donated to the RSPB and Keep Wales Tidy, the BBC reported.

Other UK nations are considering introducing a charge as Scottish ministers have consulted on a scheme, Northern Ireland plans a charge in 2013, and the UK government says it wants to work with English shops.

But the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said there are bigger waste issues to tackle. It added that the UK’s leading high street and supermarkets voluntarily cut the number of carrier bags they hand out in half between 2006 and 2009.

BRC food policy director Andrew Opie said: “To spend so much attention on it and not address bigger issues in waste does seem to us to be missing the point.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “We want to work with retailers to help them lift their game to cut the number of bags they hand out.

“We are monitoring the results of the charging scheme in Wales and the outcome of the Scottish consultation on a charge.”