There’s no doubt about the environmental impact of plastic bags. They can have an enormous impact on the natural environment. It’s a big problem and it will only be solved by using a big solution.
Fortunately, governments around the world are starting to wake up to the plastic bag problem. Here’s what some are doing:
- Uganda has banned plastic bags.
- Bangladesh has banned plastic bags
- Taiwan has banned free plastic bags. Customers are charged for plastic bags if they want them.
- Kenya has introduced an extra tax on plastic bags. It also plans to ban ultra-thin bags early this year.
- Rwanda has banned plastics less than 100 microns thick and introduced public awareness campaigns
- In 2003 South Africa banned plastic bags thinner than 30 microns and introduced a plastics levy
- China has just announced a nationwide ban on stores distributing free plastic bags from June 1, 2008. After June 1, supermarkets will be required to charge for plastic bags they provide. Also, the government will ban the actual production of ultra-thin bags less than 0.025mm thick.
- Ireland now charges a levy of 15 cents per bag bought. This resulted in a reduction in plastic bag usage by up to 95 percent.
- The Australian government is currently considering either introducing a levy (similar to Ireland), or introducing a complete ban on plastic bags by the end of 2008
- In America, San Francisco has become the first city to ban plastic bags from large supermarkets and chemist’ shops
- Several towns and cities in the UK have banned plastic shopping bags (but it’s not yet a nationwide ban).