Plastic Bag Bans Continue to Grow in Popularity

Plastic Bag Bans Continue to Grow in Popularity

Since alive first reported on plastic bag bans in 2008, plastic bag bans are being put in motion around the world, the most recent being LA.

Back in March 2008 alive reported on the small northern community of Leaf Rapids, Manitoba that became the first municipality in North America to ban single-use plastic bags in 2007.

Fast-forward four years and a lot has changed. Not only have more and more towns been banning plastic bags, but on May 23 the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban plastic bags (and charge for paper bags), making LA the largest US city to jump on the plastic bag-free trend.

Who knew that a tiny Manitoba town was onto something so huge?

Why ban plastic bags?

  • Plastic bags create a lot of litter, which can dampen a town’s aesthetic
  • Plastic takes a serious toll on environment: they don’t biodegrade, but rather break down into smaller toxic bits that contaminate our Earth and pollute our soil, lakes, and even oceans.
  • We have other options, such as reusable bags.
  • Many plastics act as estrogen mimickers and hormone disruptors, playing havoc with our health.

Where are plastic bags banned?

According to news sources, other places in which plastic bags are also banned or taxed include:

  • various cities in England
  • Mexico City
  • certain cities in India
  • Rwanda
  • Burma
  • Various towns in Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • Ireland
  • South Africa
  • China
  • San Francisco
  • Honolulu, Hawaii

Does it work?

Not all of the areas listed above have the same restrictions or regulations regarding their plastic bag ban, and unfortunately, plastic bag bans are occasionally not well enforced. This is the case with certain places in India, according to news sources.

Furthermore, critics have claimed that Honolulu’s recent ban on plastic bags has many loopholes, as many types of plastic bags (such as bags used at grocery stores for consumers to package bulk items, or plastic bags used to wrap damp items such as frozen items) are exempted from the restrictions.

Nevertheless, these bans are an important step in the fight against plastic waste, and with proper enforcement, can play a very positive role in protecting the environment. They also bring much-needed awareness to the issue.

How to reduce your plastic use

Check out our recent article “Plastic in our Oceans” for tips on how to reduce your personal plastic consumption.

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