Phase-out of lightweight plastic bags

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Phase out of lightweight plastic bags around the world.
Plastic bags banned; A tax on some plastic bags; Partial tax or ban (municipal or regional levels)

In various parts of the world, there has been a phase-out of lightweight plastic bags. Single-use plastic shopping bags are usually distributed (for free) to customers by stores when purchasing goods. It is a popular method that is practiced in many countries for being a strong, cheap, and hygienic way of transporting items. Lightweight bags are commonly made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic.[1]

Problems associated with plastic bags include use of non-renewable resources (such as crude oil, gas and coal),[2] disposal, and environmental impacts.

A car could drive about 11 metres on the amount of petroleum used to make a single plastic bag.[1] In Australia alone 6 billion HDPE bags were used in 2002.[1] Usage reduced to 5.6 billion in 2004,[2] and 3.9 billion in 2007.[1] Plastic bags can block drains, trap birds and kill livestock. The World Wide Fund for Nature has estimated that over 100,000 whales, seals, and turtles die every year[citation needed] as a result of eating or being trapped by plastic bags. In India, an estimated number of 20 cows die per day as a result of ingesting plastic bags and having their digestive systems clogged by the bags. It’s is also very common across Africa to have sewers and drain systems clogged by bags which cause severe cases of malaria due to the increased population of mosquitoes that live on the flooded sewers.[3] The term white pollution has been coined to describe the local and global effects of discarded plastic bags upon the environment.

Governments all over the world have taken action to either ban the sale of lightweight bags, charge customers for lightweight bags or generate taxes from the stores who sell them.[4] Major countries such as Rwanda, China, Taiwan and Macedonia have a total ban on the bag.[4] In the United States only cities and counties have outlawed their use; however in September 2014, California became the first state to pass a law imposing a ban.

Issues[edit]

Plastic waste on the mounds of garbage in the Philippines.

Plastic bags cause many minor and major issues in geographical terms. The most general issue with plastic bags is the amount of waste produced. Many plastic bags end up on streets and are aesthetically displeasing.[1]

When disposed of properly, they take many years to decompose and break down generating large amounts of garbage over long periods of time. If not disposed of properly the bags can pollute waterways, clog sewers and have been found in oceans affecting the habitat of animals and marine creatures.[1]

Lightweight plastic bags are also blown into trees and other plants and can be mistaken for flowers by animals affecting their diet. Plastic bags break down, but they never biodegrade. As a result, any toxic additives they contain—including flame retardants, antimicrobials, and plasticizers—will be released into the environment. Many of those toxins directly affect the endocrine systems of organisms, which control almost every cell in the body.[5] Research shows the average operating 'lifespan' of a plastic bag to be approximately 20 minutes. Plastic bags can last in landfill - an anaerobic environment - for up to 1000 years.

Regional developments[edit]

Africa[edit]

Botswana[edit]

Botswana introduced a levy on plastic bags that became effective in 2007. This lead to many retailers charging a fee on plastic bags and consequently a reduction in plastic bag use.[6]

Eritrea[edit]

Eritrea banned plastic bags in 2005.[7]

Kenya[edit]

Kenya banned the manufacture and import of plastic bags from January 2011 as a way to protect the environment.[8] The 2007 ban intended for plastics below 30 microns failed after manufacturers and retail outlets threatened to pass on the cost of using other materials to consumers.[9]

Mauritania[edit]

Mauritania banned the use, manufacture and import of plastic bags from January 2013 as a way to protect the environment, livestock, and marine species.[10]

Rwanda[edit]

Rwanda prohibited shops from giving away plastic bags to their customers in 2004.[11]

South Africa[edit]

Plastic bags were a major issue in South Africa before the bag levy was introduced in 2004. Although lightweight plastic bags were banned, this was never enforced and they remain heavily in circulation still today. The thicker plastic bags are taxed and although this move initially caused outrage for consumers, this inconvenience has long been forgotten and consumers use about 8 billion plastic shopping bags every year. http://www.econrsa.org/papers/p_papers/pp18.pdf [12]

Tanzania[edit]

The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar banned plastic bags in 2005.[13] Tanzania introduced a nationwide ban on plastic bags in 2006.[14]

Uganda[edit]

Heap of trash including plastic bags in Kampala, Uganda

Uganda introduced legislation in 2007 to ban the sale of lightweight plastic bags under 30 µm thick and tax thicker bags at a punitive rate of 120%. Although the laws came into effect in September of that year,[15] they have not been enforced and have failed to measurably reduce the use of plastic bags.[16]

Asia[edit]

Bangladesh[edit]

A strict ban was introduced in Bangladesh in 2002 after the occurrence of floods from 1988 to 1998 that submerged two-thirds of the country in water. The cause was from littered plastic bags.[17] But plastic bags remains a big problem for sewerage system and waterways.

China[edit]

A total plastic bag ban on ultra thin plastic bags and a fee on plastic bags was introduced in China on June 1, 2008. This came into effect because of the problems with sewerage and general waste. The country now uses over 50% fewer plastic bags saving roughly 40 billion a year.[18]

Hong Kong[edit]

Hong Kong forbids retailers from giving plastic bags under a certain thickness and for free.[4] The use of plastic bags dropped 90% after the introduction of the levy.[19]

A sign proclaiming that polythene bags thinner than 30 µm are prohibited in Kasaragod, Kerala, India.

India[edit]

In 2002, India banned the production of plastic bags below 20 µm in thickness to prevent plastic bags from clogging of the municipal drainage systems and to prevent the cows of India ingesting plastic bags as they confuse it for food.[4][20] However, enforcement remains a problem.[21]

The state of Goa has banned bags up to 40 µm thick,[22] while the city of Mumbai bans bags below a minimum thickness to 50 µm.[23]

Israel[edit]

In 2008 a bill imposing a charge on plastic bags passed through the first reading in the Knesset but did not become a law. The average use of plastic bags in Israel in 2014 was 275 per person per year.[24]

Malaysia[edit]

Malaysia enforce taxes on plastic bags on every Saturday since 2011 in state of Selangor.[25]

However, in Penang, taxes on plastic bags applies everyday.[26]

Myanmar[edit]

In 2009, plastic bag factories in Rangoon were ordered by local authorities to stop production by the end of November or face heavy punishment, as the Burmese government looked to ban plastic bags. Rangoon was thus following in the footsteps of central Burma's Mandalay and the new capital Naypyidaw, both of which had eliminated plastic bags.

Taiwan[edit]

In January 2003, Taiwan banned the free distribution of lightweight plastic bags.[27] The ban prevented the owners of department stores, shopping malls, hypermarkets, convenience stores, fast food restaurants and regular restaurants from providing free plastic bags to their customers. Many stores have replaced plastic with recycled paper boxes.[28] In 2006, however, the administration decided to begin allowing free plastic bags to be offered by food service operators.[29]

Europe[edit]

European Union[edit]

In November 2013, the European Commission published a proposal aiming to reduce the consumption of lightweight (thickness below 50 microns) plastic carrier bags.[30] Under the proposal, EU member states can choose the most appropriate measures to discourage the use of plastic bags. On 16 April 2014 the European Parliament passed a directive to reduce plastic bag use by 50% by 2017 and 80% by 2019.[31]

Denmark[edit]

In 2003, Denmark introduced a tax to retails for giving out plastic bags. This encouraged stores to charge for plastic bags and pushed the use of reusable bags. It was thought that this saved about 66% of plastic and paper bags.[32] In 2004, a similar law was passed by the Inatsisartut in Greenland, which applied a recycling tax on plastic bags.[33] By 2014 Denmark had the lowest plastic bag use in Europe, with 4 bags per person per year, compared to 466 in Portugal, Poland and Slovakia.[31]

Germany[edit]

All stores in Germany that provide plastic bags must pay a recycling tax.[citation needed]

Ireland[edit]

Ireland introduced a €0.15 tax in March 2002. Levied on consumers at the point of sale, this led to 90% of consumers using long-life bags within a year. The tax was increased to €0.22 in 2007. The revenue is put into an Environment Fund.[34]

Italy[edit]

In January 2011, Italy banned the distribution of plastic bags that are not from biodegradable sources.[35]

United Kingdom[edit]

Major supermarkets in the UK introduced "bags for life", reusable bags that customers are encouraged to use instead of disposable plastic bags. In 2010 research was published that showed the potential for such bags to be harmful to health if not cleaned regularly, with traces of E.coli and salmonella discovered by researchers from the University of Arizona.[36]

Wales[edit]

Wales introduced a legal minimum charge of 5 pence for almost all single use bags in October 2011. Paper and biodegradable bags are included in the charge as well as plastic bags, with only a few specific exemptions - such as for unpackaged food or medicine supplied on an NHS prescription. VAT raised from the charge is collected by the government. Retailers are asked to pass the rest of the proceeds on to charities.[37] July 2012 statistics released by the Welsh Government suggested that carrier bag use in Wales had reduced since the introduction of the charge.

Northern Ireland[edit]

Northern Ireland introduced a 5 pence levy on almost all single use bags on 8 April 2013. The levy will be extended to reusable carrier bags with a retail price of less than 20 pence from 19 January 2014[38] as data from a number of retailers indicate that reusable bag sales have increased by 800% since the introduction of the levy on single use bags. The proceeds of the levy (£4.17m in 2013/14) are paid to the Department of the Environment and used to fund local environmental projects and enforce the levy. Official statistics for the Northern Ireland levy show that the number of single use bags dispensed fell from around 300 million in 2012/13 to 84.5 million in 2013/14 - a reduction of 72%.[39]

Scotland[edit]

A five pence minimum charge for single-use carrier bags came into force in Scotland on 20 October 2014. The proceeds of the charge can be used by the retailers as they see fit. VAT will be collected by the government on every bag sold. The charge applies to bags of all materials, including those which are biodegradable. Bags for drugs, aquatic animals or containing goods bought on board a ship, train, aircraft, coach or bus will be exempt from the charge.[40]

England[edit]

England, where no such charge is currently imposed, experienced a rise in usage in 2012.[41] A 5 pence minimum charge for single use plastic bags is due to be introduced in England in October 2015 but will only apply to retailers with more than 250 employees. Unlike the rest of the UK, the English charge will not apply to paper bags or bags made from other natural materials.

North America[edit]

United States[edit]

While the territory of American Samoa, and the state of California have banned bags, there is currently no national plastic bag fee or ban currently in effect in the United States. Over 100 counties and municipalities have enacted ordinances either imposing a fee on plastic bags or banning them outright. California passed a law prohibiting their use in September 2014.[42] Other attempts at banning plastic shopping bags state-wide (for example in Massachusetts) have not succeeded mainly due to plastic industry lobbying.[43] A few jurisdictions have chosen to implement a fee-only approach to bag reduction by imposing a tax or a fee, such as Washington, D.C. and adjacent Montgomery County, Maryland.[44]

State/Territory Municipality Jurisdictions covered Passage date Effective date Effect
Alaska Alaska
City of Bethel Bethel July 2009 September 2010 Plastic bag ban[45]
City of Homer Homer August 2012 January 2013 Plastic bag ban.[46]
City of Hooper Bay Hooper Bay August 2010
American Samoa American Samoa American Samoa January 2010 February 2011 Plastic bag ban for all wholesale and retail businesses.[47]
California California (Local bans only)1
Alameda County Alameda January 2012 January 2013 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[48]
Albany
Berkeley
Dublin
Emeryville
Fremont
Hayward
Livermore
Oakland
Piedmont
Pleasanton
San Leandro
Union City
Unincorporated territories
Los Angeles County Beverly Hills[49] April 22, 2014 July 1, 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.
Calabasas[50] February 2011 July 2011
Culver City[51] May 2013 December 2013
Glendale[52] January 2013 July 2013
Long Beach[53] February 2012 January 2013
Los Angeles[54] June 2013 January 2014
Malibu[55] May 2008 May 2009 Plastic bag ban.
Manhattan Beach[56] July 2008 July 2011
Monrovia[57] July 2014 January 2015 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.
Pasadena[58] November 2011 July 2012
Pico Rivera[59] October 2014 July 2016
Santa Monica[60] February 2011 September 2011
South Pasadena[61] October 2014 December 2014
West Hollywood[62] August 2012 February 2013
Unincorporated territories[63] November 2010 January 2012
Marin County Fairfax[64] August 2007 November 2008 Plastic bag ban. 10 cent charge for paper bag.
Larkspur[65] May 2014 November 2014
Mill Valley October 21, 2013 November 21, 2013[66] Plastic bag ban; 5 cent charge for paper bags.[67]
Novato[68] - March 2014 Plastic bag ban. 10 cent charge for paper bag.
Ross[69] September 2014 April 2015
San Anselmo[70] - January 2015
San Rafael[71] March 2014 September 2014
Sausalito[72] - March 2014
Tiburon[73] - September 2014
Unincorporated territories January 2011 January 2012 Plastic bag ban.[74]
Mendocino County Fort Bragg[75] May 2012 December 2013 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.
Ukiah[76] May 2012 February 2013
Unincorporated territories[77] June 2012 January 2013
Monterey County Carmel-by-the-Sea[78] July 2012 February 2013 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.
Gonzales[79] July 2014 January 2015
Pacific Grove[80] August 2014 March 2015
King City[81] September 2014 January 2015
Marina[82] - August 2014
Monterey December 2011 June 2012 Plastic bag ban; 25 cent charge for paper bags.[83]
Salinas[84] - August 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.
Seaside[85] August 2014 September 2015
Soledad[86] October 2014 May 2015
Unincorporated territories[87] - August 2014
San Francisco City and County San Francisco April 2007 Limited plastic bag ban.
February 2012 October 2012 Expansion of ban to cover all retail stores in 2012 and all restaurants in 2013. 10 cent charge for paper bags.[88]
San Luis Obispo County Arroyo Grande January 2012 October 2012 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[89]
Atascadero
Grover Beach
Morro Bay
Paso Robles
Pismo Beach
San Luis Obispo
Unincorporated territories
San Mateo County Belmont January 2013 April 2013 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[90]
Brisbane March 2013
Burlingame
Colma January 2013
Daly City
East Palo Alto April 2013 October 2013
Half Moon Bay March 2013 April 2013
Menlo Park
Millbrae[91] February 2012 September 2012
Pacifica December 2012 April 2013
Portola Valley January 2013
Redwood City March 2013 October 2013
San Bruno January 2013 April 2013
San Carlos March 2013 July 2013
San Mateo[92] May 2013 June 2013
South San Francisco December 2012 April 2013
Unincorporated territories November 2012
Santa Clara County Campbell1[90] July 2013 January 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.
Cupertino[93] March 2013 October 2013
Los Altos1[90] March 2013 July 2013
Los Gatos1[90] September 2013 February 2014
Morgan Hill[94] October 2013 April 2014
Mountain View2[90] December 2012 April 2013
Palo Alto - September 2009 Paper bags required as check-out option. Large retailers banned from distributing plastic bags.[95]
May 2013 July 2013 Full plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[96]
San Jose January 2011 January 2012 Plastic bag ban; 25 cent charge for paper bags.[97]
Santa Clara[98] September 2014 December 2014 Plastic bag ban. 10 cent fee for paper bag.
Sunnyvale[99] December 2011 June 2012
Unincorporated territories[100] April 2011 January 2012
Santa Cruz County Capitola January 2013 April 2013 Plastic bag ban; 25 cent charge for paper bags.[101]
Santa Cruz July 2012 April 2013 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[102]
Watsonville May 2012 June 2012 Plastic bag ban; 25 cent charge for paper bags.[103]
Unincorporated territories September 2011 March 2012 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[104]
October 2012 April 2013 Expansion of ban to restaurants.[105]
Sonoma County Cloverdale February 2014 September 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[106]
Cotati
Healdsburg
Petaluma
Rohnert Park
Santa Rosa[107]
Sebastopol
Sonoma
Windsor
Unincorporated territories[108]
City of Arcata Arcata - February 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[109]
City of Calistoga Calistoga August 2014 January 2015 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[110]
City of Carpinteria Carpinteria March 2012 July 2012 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[111]
City of Chico Chico May 2014 January 2015 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[112]
City of Dana Point Dana Point March 2012 April 2013 Plastic bag ban.[113]
City of Danville Danville December 2014 July 2016 Plastic bag ban.[114]
City of Davis Davis November 2013 July 2014 Plastic bag ban.[115]
City of Desert Hot Springs Desert Hot Springs March 2014 September 2014 Plastic bag ban. Small fee for paper bag.[116]
City of Encinitas Encinitas September 2014 April 2015 Plastic bag ban. Small fee for paper bag.[117]
City of Hercules Hercules September 2014 January 2015 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[118]
City of Huntington Beach Huntington Beach April 2013 November 2013 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[119]
City of Indio Indio May 2014 November 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[120]
City of Lafayette Lafayette December 2014 July 2015 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[81]
City of Laguna Beach Laguna Beach February 2012 January 2013 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[121]
City of Martinez Martinez - 2014 Plastic bag ban.[122]
City of Napa Napa - August 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[123]
City of Nevada City Nevada City June 2014 July 2015 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[124]
City of Ojai Ojai April 2012 July 2012 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[125]
City of Palm Desert Palm Desert May 2014 October 2015 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[126]
City of Palm Springs Palm Springs April 2014 November 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[127]
City of Pittsburg Pittsburg October 2013 January 2014 Plastic bag ban; phased charge for paper bags until 25 cents in the third year.[128]
City of Pleasant Hill Pleasant Hill - August 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[129]
City of Richmond Richmond July 2013 January 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[130]
City of Sacramento Sacramento March 2015 January 2016 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[131]
City of San Pablo San Pablo October 2013 January 2014 Plastic bag ban. Ten cent fee for paper bag.[116]
City of Santa Barbara Santa Barbara October 2013 December 2014 Plastic bag ban. Ten cent fee for paper bag.[132]
City of Solana Beach Solana Beach May 2012 June 2012 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[133]
City of South Lake Tahoe South Lake Tahoe October 2013 February 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[134]
City of St. Helena St. Helena August 2014 January 2015 Plastic bag ban. Ten cent fee for paper bag.[135]
City of Truckee Truckee November 2013 June 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[136]
City of Walnut Creek Walnut Creek March 2014 September 2014 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[137]
Colorado Colorado3
City of Aspen Aspen October 2011 May 2012 Plastic bag ban for large retailers; 20 cent charge for paper bags.[138]
City of Boulder Boulder November 2012 July 2013 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[139]
City of Carbondale Carbondale October 2011 May 2012 Plastic bag ban for large retailers; 20 cent charge for paper bags.[139]
Town of Telluride Telluride October 2010 March 2011 Plastic bag ban; 10 cent charge for paper bags.[140]
Connecticut Connecticut Town of Westport Westport September 2008 March 2009 Plastic bag ban. Defines acceptable "recyclable paper bag" alternatives.[141]
Washington, D.C. District of Columbia Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C. June 2009 August 2009 Minimum 5 cent fee for plastic bags.[142]
Hawaii Hawaii4
Hawaii County Unincorporated territories December 2011 January 2013 Ban on compostable and non-compostable plastic checkout bags. Allows plastic bags at least 3 mils.[143]
Honolulu City and County Honolulu 2014 July 2015 Bill 10 in 2010 banned some plastic checkout bags but allowed biodegradable bags. Bill 38 in 2014 banned biodegradable plastic checkout bags but allowed compostable plastic bags. Plastic bags still allowed for carrying food and drinks, plastic bags at least 2.25 mils allowed.[144]
Kauai County Unincorporated territories October 2009 January 2011 Ban on plastic checkout bags made with fossil fuels. Biodegradable bags allowed.[145]
Maui County Unincorporated territories August 2008 Ban on compostable and non-compostable plastic checkout bags. Allows plastic bags at least 3 mils.[146]
Illinois Illinois
Chicago Chicago April 30, 2014 August 1, 2015 (larger stores), August 1, 2016 (all stores) Ban affects only chains and franchise stores. Reusable bags must be at least 2.25 mils.[147][148]
City of Evanston Evanston July 28, 2014 August 1, 2015 Bans plastic bags less than 2.25 mils at chain and franchise stores over 10,000 square feet. Biodegradable bags allowed.[149]
Maine Maine Portland Portland June 2014 April 15, 2015 5-cent fee for single-use plastic (and paper) bags at pharmacies, and food and convenience stores, which is kept by the store.[150]
Maryland Maryland
Town of Chestertown Chestertown April 4, 2011 January 2012 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be at least 2.25 mils.[151]
Montgomery County Unincorporated territories May 2011 January 2012 Minimum 5 cent fee for plastic bags.[152]
Massachusetts Massachusetts
Town of Brookline Brookline November 2012 December 2013 Plastic bag ban for larger stores (basically 2500 square feet). Reusable bags must be at least 2.25 mils.[153]
City of Cambridge Cambridge Mar 30, 2015 Mar 2016 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be at least 3 mils.[154]
Town of Concord Concord Apr., 2015 Jan. 1, 2016 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be at least 2.5 mils.[155]
Town of Falmouth Falmouth Nov. 2014 May 2016 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be at least 2.5 mils.[156]
Town of Great Barrington Great Barrington May 2013 2013 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be at least 2.5 mils.[157]
Town of Harwich Harwich May 4, 2015 May, 2016 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be at least 2.5 mils.[158]
Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea Manchester-by-the-Sea April 2013 January 2014 Plastic bag ban. Reusable plastic bags must be greater than 2.5 mils.[159]
Town of Marblehead Marblehead May 5, 2014 May 2015 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be at least 3 mils.[160]
City of Newburyport Newburyport Sep. 8, 2014 Mar. 29, 2015 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be at least 3 mils.[161]
City of Newton Newton Jan. 20, 2015 July 2015 Plastic bag ban for larger stores (basically 3500 square feet). Reusable bags must be at least 3 mils.[162]
City of Northampton Northampton May, 2015 Jan. 1, 2016 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be more than 3 mils.[163]
Town of Provincetown Provincetown Oct 27, 2014 April 15, 2015 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be at least 1.5 mils.[164]
Town of Wellfleet Wellfleet April, 2015 Jan. 1, 2016 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be at least 3.5 mils.[165]
Town of Williamstown Williamstown May 19, 2015 Nov., 2015 Plastic bag ban including produce bags and dry cleaning bags. Reusable shopping bags must be at least 4 mils.[166]
New Mexico New Mexico City of Santa Fe Santa Fe August 2013 January 2014 Plastic bag ban thinner than 2.25 mm.[167]
New York New York
East Hampton Village East Hampton Village August 2011 February 2012 Plastic bag ban.[168]
Village of Mamaroneck Mamaroneck July 2012 January 2013 Plastic bag ban.[169]
City of Rye Rye December 2011 May 2012 Plastic bag ban.[170]
Village of Southampton Village of Southampton April 2011 November 2011 Plastic bag ban.[171]
Village of Hastings on Hudson, Town of Greenburgh Hastings on Hudson November 2014 February 2015 Plastic bag ban.[172]
North Carolina North Carolina
Outer Banks Duck June 2009 October 1, 2010 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be at least 2.25 mils. Paper bags must be at least 40% recycled.[173]
Kill Devil Hills
Kitty Hawk
Manteo
Nag's Head
Southern Shores
Unincorporated territories
Oregon Oregon
City of Corvallis Corvallis July 2012 Plastic bag ban; 5 cent charge for paper bags.
City of Eugene Eugene October 2012 May 1, 2013 Plastic bag ban; 5 cent charge for paper bags. Reusable bags must be at least 4 mils.[174]
City of Portland Portland July 2011 October 2011 Plastic bag ban.[175] Reusable bags must be at least 4 mils.[176]
Rhode Island Rhode Island Town of Barrington Barrington October 2012 January 2013 Plastic bag ban. Reusable bags must be at least 2.25 mils.
Texas Texas
City of Austin Austin March 2012 March 2013 Plastic bag and paper bag ban. Reusable plastic bags must be at least 4 mils.[177]
City of Brownsville Brownsville December 15, 2009 January 5, 2011 Single-use bag ban. $1 charge per transaction for any number of single-use plastic or paper bags. Reusable bags must be at least 4 mils if plastic or 65# if paper.[178]
City of Dallas Dallas March 2014 Jan. 2015 5¢ fee for single-use plastic and paper bags. (Ban on all single-use bags on city property or city events.) Reusable plastic bags must be at least 4 mils.[179]
City of Fort Stockton Fort Stockton September 2011 Plastic bag ban.
City of South Padre Island South Padre Island January 2011 January 2012 Plastic bag ban.[180]
Washington (state) Washington
City of Bainbridge Island Bainbridge Island April 2012 November 2012 Plastic bag ban. 5 cent charge for paper bags.[181]
City of Bellingham Bellingham July 2011 July 2012 Plastic bag ban. 5 cent minimum charge for paper bags.[182]
City of Edmonds Edmonds July 2009 Plastic bag ban.
City of Issaquah Issaquah June 2012 March 2013 Plastic bag ban.[183]
City of Mukilteo Mukilteo December 2011 January 2013 Plastic bag ban.[184]
City of Olympia Olympia October 2013 July 2014 Plastic bag ban. 5 cent charge for paper bags.[185]
City of Port Townsend Port Townsend July 2012 November 2012 Plastic bag ban. 5 cent charge for paper bags.[186]
City of Seattle Seattle December 2011 July 2012 Plastic bag ban. Minimum 5 cent charge for paper bags.[187]
City of Shoreline Shoreline April 2013 February 2014 Plastic bag ban. 5 cent charge for paper bags.[188]
Thurston County Unincorporated territories September 2013 July 2014 Plastic bag ban. 5 cent charge for paper bags.[189]
City of Tumwater Tumwater September 2013 July 2014 Plastic bag ban. 5 cent charge for paper bags.[190]

Notes:

  • 1 The state of California's state-wide bag ban will not go into effect pending a ballot initiative in November 2016. Local legislation in this list will supersede the state legislation, regardless of the outcome of the initiative.
  • 2 The San Mateo County Environmental Impact Report also studied six cities in neighboring Santa Clara County. Campbell, Los Altos, Los Gatos, and Mountain View opted to join San Mateo County's ordinance because of this.
  • 3 The City of Fort Collins, Colorado passed a 5¢ fee on single-use bags on August 19, 2014, and repealed it on October 21, 2014.
  • 4 Although the state of Hawaii does not ban plastic bags, all of its local jurisdictions do, effectively banning them statewide.[191]

Canada[edit]

In Canada, the Toronto City Council voted to ban plastic bags, beginning January 1, 2013. Toronto city council voted on June 6, 2012, to ban plastic bags effective January 1, 2013, and to scrap the city's five-cent bag fee starting July 1, 2012.[192] Industry groups have convinced city officials to include a grace period between January 1, 2013, and June 30, 2013, when no fines, only warnings, can be issued.[193] The bag ban and five cent fee (six cents with HST) have both been overturned as of November 28, 2012 and it's up to individual retailers if they want to charge for plastic bags.[194] Most stores, with the exception of a few national retailers do not charge.

State/Territory Municipality Passage date Effective date Effect
Quebec Quebec
Deux-Montagnes 2009 Plastic bag ban[195]
Huntingdon 2008 Plastic bag ban including bags used for newspapers and flyers[195]

Mexico[edit]

Mexico approved legislation to ban and fine plastic bags in August 2010. However, the legislation is not observed.[196] Plastic bags are one of Mexico's biggest pollution problems.[197]

Oceania[edit]

Australia[edit]

Although the nation does not ban lightweight bags, the states of South Australia, Tasmania, and the ACT and Northern Territory, along with some cities have independently banned the bag. Coles Bay, Tasmania was the first location in Australia to ban the bag.[198] The introduction of the 'Zero Waste' program in South Australia led to its lightweight bag ban in October 2008. It is estimated that 400 million bags are saved each year.[199]

New Zealand[edit]

The government has not implemented measures to significantly lower the amount of bags, but some independent retailers have taken the approach to charge for plastic bags. In Christchurch, a kerbside program has been established to collect bags on roads and parklands to be recycled.[200] As of 2011, Our Seas Our Future in Dunedin was campaigning to ban single use plastic bags.[201]

Alternatives[edit]

Most lightweight bags are made from high density polyethylene (HDPE). A reusable but generally short-lived alternative is bags made from thicker low density polyethylene (LDPE), which are more expensive to produce.[202] Bags can also be made from biodegradable materials that will generally break down quicker than HDPE. A common material is cornstarch.[203]

Non-disposable alternatives include traditional shopping bags such as the string bag, shopping trolleys (not supermarket trolleys, but a soft bag mounted on a frame with wheels and a handle), and rucksacks.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Plastic bags". Australian Government. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Plastic Bag Fact Sheet" (pdf). Sustainability Victoria. 9 November 2005. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Getting+Friendly+Environment"+"The+Dell+Challenge"&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 "Getting Friendly Environment". The Dell Challenge. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d Kogoy, D (8 November 2010). "Plastic bag reduction around the world" (pdf). Marrickville Council. 
  5. ^ Kiener, Robert (1 July 2010). "Plastic Pollution". CQ Global Researcher: 157–184. 
  6. ^ Johane Dikgang and Martine Visser: "Behavioral Response to Plastic Bag Legislation in Botswana", in Environment for Development Discussion Paper, May 2010
  7. ^ Department of Environmental Protection Florida: "Retail Bags Report - List of Retail Bag Policies"
  8. ^ "Kenya bans plastic bags". The Independent UK. 9 January 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Nairobi city to ban use of plastic bags". Africa Review Kenya. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
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