Free plastic carrier bags could become a thing of the past in Scotland, the government said.
Plans to tackle the "blight" of plastic bags littering the landscape took a step forward with the announcement of a consultation to examine ways to reduce the number of single use carriers.
Richard Lochhead, Scottish Government Environment Secretary, said: "Plastic bags are a scourge on the environment and a blight on our streets, our countryside and our seas - that's why we are so determined to drastically cut back on their use.
"It's hugely encouraging that so many people are now taking this issue seriously, and over the past five years we have seen a lot of progress in cutting plastic bag use, both by shops and shoppers.
"We want to phase out the use of free plastic bags in supermarkets, with the continued help of retailers. We want Scotland to become a zero waste society.
"Our consultation, which takes place this autumn, will look at options for cutting plastic bag use even further - and, as we pledged in our election campaign, we will consider legislating on this issue if need be.
"This consultation forms part of a wide range of actions the Scottish Government is taking to reduce waste levels in Scotland."
Most recent figures released by Wrap (Waste and Resources Action Programme) said overall, a total of 6.4bn single-use carrier bags were used in 2010.
This figure compares with 10.7bn single-use bags used in 2006.