With the New Year marking a period of reflection and change, I have found myself contemplating a bad habit that occurs more than I care to admit.

When performing the post-work routine of last-minute food shopping, I’ll take my basket to the till or self-scanner, reach into my handbag and curse my forgetfulness. Not a reusable plastic or tote bag in sight.

Ever since the 5p plastic bag charge was introduced in 2014, I - along with many fellow shoppers - felt an added weight of responsibility.

No longer able to dismiss the harmful effects of buying single-use plastic bags, the charge was a welcome sign for many of us.

Causing unnecessary harm to the environment, we were all encouraged to ditch the habit of buying bags every time we shopped and bring our own reusable ones.

This would help to cut down on waste and stop bags littering our towns, cities and oceans. Brilliant, count me in.

Though whilst my intentions are always good, I’ll be honest - four years on I still find there are occasions when either I haven’t brought enough bags to pack all my shopping or, to my utter shame, have forgotten one entirely.

Without the benefit of a car I’m reliant on bags to get my groceries home, meaning that reluctantly I’ll be required to buy a new one.

Since the 5p levy was implemented, there has been a marked improvement in the number of bags we buy. In July last year it was reported that sales of bags in the “big seven” supermarkets were down by 86 per cent.

Yet according to research from The Times, more than one billion ‘bags for life’ have been sold each year by UK supermarkets.

These bags, which are made from stronger, more durable plastic and typically cost 10p, are undermining efforts to reduce plastic waste.

With it suggested that shoppers are simply using bags for life as though they were any other disposable bag, buying them each and every time they shop, it’s clear that our plastic waste still needs improvement.

Whilst it’s no longer a valid excuse to cite forgetfulness as a way to brush off our personal contribution to plastic waste, I wonder if new practices might make it a win-win for people and the planet.

My suggestion is to create a spin on an honesty box. Although there are times I don’t have enough carriers for my shopping, there are equally occasions when I have too many.

In this instance I would donate my surplus bags to a box at the front of the store, in which customers who found they were lacking could help themselves.

The idea is that it would encourage a sharing culture in which we use what we have instead of buying new.

It might not work every time, but surely it would be worth the effort to save more plastic waste.

Cutting out waste needs to be a collaborative effort if we are to succeed. With the start of a fresh new year, why not all work together?