Epitaph for a Plastic Bag: Go Green

2007 – Ireland institutes a 15 cent PlasTax (tax on plastic shopping bags), leading to a 90% drop in volume of free bags. In the three months after the tax was introduced, shops handed out just over 23 million plastic bags – about 277 million fewer than normal.

March, 2007IKEA stores begin charging a nickel per plastic bag in an effort to get people to haul their wares out of the store in reusable bags and cut down on plastic bag waste. Proceeds of up to $1.75 million from the bag campaign will go to American Forests to plant trees to restore forests and offset CO2 emissions.

Also in March 2007, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors outlaws plastic checkout bags at large supermarkets and large chain pharmacies.

January, 2008 – Australia’s new Environment Minister Peter Garrett announces he’d like to see the country rid of free plastic shopping bags by the end of the year.

April 22, 2008 – To celebrate Earth Day this year, Whole Foods bans the bag.

June, 2008 – China announces all shops will be forbidden from offering free plastic bags. Meanwhile, super-thin bags have been banned, altogether. Consumers are encouraged to go back to using cloth bags and baskets.

July, 2008 – The Los Angeles City Council votes to ban plastic shopping bags from stores, beginning July 1, 2010. Shoppers can either bring their own bags or pay 25 cents for a paper or biodegradable bag.

Oh, plastic bag, you served us well, but like many relationships, this one has become toxic. It is time for us to part ways. Sure there will be times we’ll miss you, like when we take the dog out for a walk, remembering how easily you picked up that little mess for us. But like our mother once told us, missing someone doesn’t make the problem go away. And you need to go away. Farewell, dear plastic bag. Farewell.