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Boasting the highest rates of consumption for plastic bags in Europe—with 20 billion bags used annually— Italy is in for a big lifestyle change
This is not a sudden move since a gradual ban was introduced in 2006. However, over reliance and usage on plastic bags called for more drastic measures. With the option to use biodegradable, cloth or paper bags, the Italians are now looking at a plastic bag less future. ...
... By enforcing a ban on plastic bags, Italy has inadvertently forced its people to become environmentally responsible. The impact of this ban is significant.
Italy is not the first country to have done so. In 2005, Eritrea, Rwanda and Somalia banned plastic bags whereas Tanzania introduced a total ban in 2006. Other countries in Africa, Asia and Europe and some cities in the United States have imposed partial bans or bans on thinner plastic bags, considered more dangerous to the environment. Similarly in the UAE, there are many retailers that encourage the customers to use paper bags or reusable shopping bags
Taking action in March 2002, Bangladesh was the first large country to ban all polyethylene bags in the capital, Dhaka, after they were found to have been the main culprit during the 1988 and 1998 floods that submerged two-thirds of the country.
The ban on polythene bags has led to a revival of the jute bag industry and other sustainable and biodegradable alternatives.
In May 2002, Ireland was the first European nation to take action. A 15 euro-cent (25c AUD) levy was placed on plastic supermarket checkout bags. It is estimated that the use of disposable plastic shopping bags has been reduced by approx. 90% since the levy was introduced. Prior to its introduction approx. 1.2 billion disposable plastic bags were given away free by retailers.
This also saw a decrease in excess of 95% in plastic bag litter.
In the first year after the introduction of the 15c levy just under 90 million bags were bought by the public and this fell to less than 85 million in 2003. But since then the number has been on the up again, to 100 million in 2004 and at least 113 million in 2005, a rise of over a third.
The plastic bag levy has increased to 22 cent today in a further bid to reduce littering. The former minister for the environment Dick Roche announced the rise last February which comes after evidence suggested the initial impact of the tax in 2002 was beginning to weaken.
The South African Government banned the use of thin plastic bags in May 2003. Retailers handing out the bags were to face a fine of 100,000 rand ($13,800) or a 10-year jail sentence. The legislation means shoppers will either have to take bags with them when they go shopping, or buy new, thick, stronger plastic bags that are easier and more profitable to recycle.
In 2004, thousands of people in Rwanda were encouraged to take the day off work to help pick up some of the plastic bags which littered the country.
Environment Minister, Drocella Mugorewera said that anyone using plastic bags was breaking a recent law on environmental protection aimed at cleaning up cities. She said that people must use paper bags or baskets instead.
This law cased problems for some market traders due to paper bags being unsuitable to carry some products such as fish and. Paper bags can be up to five times more expensive than plastic ones.
Wangari Mathaai, the 2005 Nobel peace prize winner, linked plastic bag litter to the problem of malaria in Africa. When discarded, the bags can fill with rainwater, offering ideal breeding grounds for the malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
Zanzibar banned plastic bags in 2006 due to the negative effects of discarded bags on the marine environment and its crucial tourism industry. The government suggested the use of raffia bags as an alternative.
"We have to put the environment above everything," Zanzibar's Director of Environment Ali Juma said. "Besides being an eyesore, plastic bags are very damaging to land and marine life and we are already threatened by the rapid pace of development."
Kenya and Uganda have banned the use of thin plastic bags in an effort to curb environmental damage. The ban will took effect in Kenya at the stroke of midnight on Thursday 14 June, 2007.
In August 2003, the state government banned plastic bags in Himachal Pradesh, in northern India. In this Indian state plastic bags not only caused floods but were were also widely blamed for killing foraging cows. The government banned the manufacture, sale and use of all plastic bags.
Similar laws now also apply in Mumbai, western Indian state of Maharashtra, Sikkim, Goa, Kerala and Karnatak states, where the plastic bag was banned in September 2005.
Manufacturers and stores selling plastic bags are fined or face imprisonment. The ban in these states had been prompted by the indiscriminate use of plastic bags, which blocked sewage and drainage systems during record monsoon rains. As a result, flooding and landslides killed more than 1,000 people in the state.
In many European countries, such as Germany, Denmark and Switzerland, retailers charge for plastic check-out bags of their own accord without any government legislation in place.
A city ordinance passed in March 2007 saw San Francisco become the first State in the USA to ban the use of plastic bags by large grocery stores.
The stores can still use biodegradable plastic bags, typically made from corn byproducts.
The estimated 180 million plastic bags handed out annually in San Francisco cause litter, hurt wildlife and often end up in a massive patch of swirling plastic junk in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, that is reportedly twice the size of Texas.
The 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' is a garbage soup of 80% plastic weighing more than 3.5 million tons and has been growing a brisk rate since the 1950s. See a July 2008 Sixty Minutes report on the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' at:
In February 2008, China's State Council put a nationwide ban on plastic bags. The cabinet demanded all stores (from major supermarkets to small shops) go plastic bag-free after June 1, 2008.
According to the Daily Mail, China uses more plastic bags than any other country. It is estimated that 37 million barrels of crude oil are used to produce China's annual supply of plastic bags. China's population of 1.3 billion people use 3 billion, and dispose of 3 million tonnes of plastic bags each year. The nationwide ban was put in place to lift the environmental credentials of the county in time for the Beijing Olympics in August 2008.
The ban prohibits shops, supermarkets, and sales outlets from handing out free plastic bags and bans the production, sale, and use of ultra-thin plastic bags under 0.025 millimeters thick. It took effect nationwide on June 1.
In March 2009 a campaign calling for the introduction of a retailer levy to help reduce the one billion plastic supermarket bags used annually by a population of four million people in New Zealand was launched.
Calls for the levy are in line with the New Zealand Packaging Accord 2004-2009, a five year program to reduce packaging waste. Many retailers are signatories to the Accord, which includes a goal to reduce plastic bag usage by 25% by mid 2009.
Over the last year, levies have been successfully introduced by a number of retailers such as Bunnings, The Warehouse and Borders, the latter reporting an 80% decrease in plastic bag usage within one year of introducing a 10c levy.
Campaigners want the owners of New Zealand's major supermarkets Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises to take the lead in reducing plastic bag use because 700 million plastic bags are given away by supermarkets annually. In April, Foodstuffs announced a levy to become effective in August 2009 in selected stores
Originally posted by RedGolem
Plastic bags will now be banned in Italy but I think we are going to be seeing more of this in the near future
Originally posted by silo13
Anyway, as per the grocery sacks? It sounds like a great idea but the thought of going back to paper (tree killers) is so not appealing. I hope that problem is fixed too...
All kinds of paper are made out of 100% wood with nothing else mixed into them. This includes newspaper, magazines and even toilet paper.Most pulp mills use good forest management practices in harvesting trees to ensure that they have a sustainable source of raw materials. One of the major complaints about harvesting wood for pulp mills is that it reduces the biodiversity of the harvested forest. Trees raised specifically for pulp production account for 16 percent of world pulp production, old growth forests account for 9 percent, and second- and third- and more generation forests account for the rest. Reforestation is practiced in most areas, so trees are a renewable resource. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certifies paper made from trees harvested according to guidelines meant to ensure good forestry practices.
Originally posted by NuclearPaul
What they will do is "ban" them. Then shoppers will be "saved" by having the option to buy "approved" versions of the same thing. When we go to the shops now, they ask us "would you like a bag with that?". Well, yes, I'd like to be able to carry my groceries to the car!
Just another clever scam to syphon money out of the citizens, while pretending that they care. Nothing more, nothing less.
Originally posted by Rockpuck
I'm glad to see it, Ireland did a 10c charge per bag not long ago and drastically reduced the number of bags going to land fills.