Photo: Emilija Miljkovic/Shutterstock

Plastic Bag Ban: Coming Soon to Your City?

Hong Kong Sustainability
by Julie Schwietert Apr 18, 2009

A couple years back, being “green” finally came into fashion.

So much so, in fact, that women lined up for hours in Hong Kong just to buy this bag:

Created by popular handbag designer Anya Hindmarch, the “I’m not a plastic bag” bag was also in demand in Los Angeles and London, where it sold out. At one New York City store, 3,000 bags were reported to have been snatched up by eager consumers in just 29 minutes.

Women who carried the bag earned instant eco-cred, and were the envy of friends who’d never entertained the thought of carrying a reusable shopping bag.

Fortunately, in many parts of the world, using canvas bags for shopping instead of plastic bags is becoming a trend that may stick around, thanks to both voluntary plastic bag bans and legislation criminalizing the use of plastic bags for shopping in some jurisdictions.

In January of this year, the local government in Delhi, India passed a law banning the use of plastic bags. The city had become littered with bags, which in addition to creating land waste concerns, were also clogging the sewage and water systems. Politicians decided the only way to control use of bags was to ban them completely and impose stiff fines (100,000 rupees) and/or a five-year maximum jail sentence.

Plastic bags have also been banned in Bangladesh, South Africa, Taiwan. Other countries, including Ireland, tax customers who request their goods be bagged in plastic.

The United States has been slower to adopt legislation to decrease the use of plastic bags, but it appears that bans may be coming soon to a city near you. Environmental advocates are pushing for a total plastic bag ban in Portland, Oregon and Ann Arbor, Michigan, among other cities, though bag ban supporters in Baltimore, Maryland, Colorado and Virginia have been disappointed by stalled or vetoed bills.

What’s happening with plastic bags where you live? Have you replaced plastic with canvas or some other reusable bag?

Community Connection:

To learn about other products you can buy to reduce your negative environmental impact, check out Lola Akinmade’s article, Improving Your Goodprint.

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