photo via flickr
My home state of California couldn't do it, but border town Brownsville, TX, has taken action and banned plastic bags. The ban goes into effect January 5. Shoppers who forget their reusable bags can buy plastic bags for an extra buck. Pharmacies, hardware stores and dry cleaners are exempt. Plastic bags are a petroleum product and can take over 1,000 years to biodegrade. "We want to have a beautiful city," Commissioner Edward Camarillo said. "We want to make sure that we take care of the environment."
The California law had the support of Governor Schwarzenegger, but it went down in state senate where arguments of cost won the day. It's estimated that Californians go through 19 billion plastic bags annually.
Plastic bags are taxed in many European countries, including Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Spain, and Norway.
My neighbors in San Francisco have banned plastic bags. In January, Washington, D.C., supermarkets started charging 5 cents for each disposable bag. You know what? Commerce has continued in each city and complaints appear to be at a minimum. People, from my experience, want to do the right thing for the environment; they only need to be asked. Would you like a plastic bag ban in your city or town?