Let's Just Charge 5 Cents Per Bag Everywhere...In 2008, the government of Québec set the goal of reducing by 50% the use of plastic bags in the province by 2012. That might have seemed ambitious at the time, but a new study by the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP, what a long name...) shows that by 2010 that target had already been reached, mostly thanks to voluntary participation by retailers who encouraged their customers to use reusable canvas bags and charged 5 cents per plastic bag (most of that money was donated to environmental NGOs too!).
For example, Loblaw, a huge food retailer, has reduce by 3.8 billion the number of plastic bags it use since 2007, and has donated 4 million dollars to WWF-Canada from the 5 cents that it now charges per plastic bag. Things are similar at other retailers.
This success, which parallels the success in reducing plastic bag usage in many other places around the world, it just one more argument in favor of a broad adoption of similar practices. Just making plastic bags non-free for the customer has a huge impact.
Part of the reason for reducing the use of plastic bags is because so many end up in the ocean where they kill many marine species.
Via Radio-Canada (French)