The five pence charge for single-use plastic carrier bags has come into effect this week.
The charge, which will apply for all retailers with 250 or more full-time employees, is expected to significantly reduce the use of plastic bags.
It follows similar schemes in Scotland and Wales, with the latter nation seeing a 79% fall in three years.
Major supermarkets in England gave out 7.64 billion single use plastic bags last year, according to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).
It added plastic bags can have a “significant impact” on the environment, with around eight million tonnes ending up in oceans every year, “polluting our marine environment and harming our precious sea life”.
Defra expects the 5p charge to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags by as much as 80% in big supermarkets in England.
Environment Minister Rory Stewart said: “The more bags we take from the shops, the more plastic makes its way into our environment, blighting our high streets, spoiling our enjoyment of the countryside and damaging our wildlife and marine environments.”