This is bad news for the plastics industry, who actually tried to sue Fairfax for their ban which was, at the time, voluntary; claiming that not using plastic bags is bad for the environment because it causes you to use paper bags. In result these counties and cities will not offer single use plastic bags and recycled paper bags will be available for 10 cents a bag and can increase to as much as 25 cents a bag within 2 years.
I think the rise of reusable bags is a wonderful ambition! Maybe not always the most practical (yet) but certainly respectable!
Plastic Bag Usage
- It’s estimated that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. That breaks down to almost 1 million every minute.
- The U.S. goes through 100 billion single-use plastic bags. This costs retailers about $4 billion a year.
- An estimated 3,960,000 tons of plastic bags, sack and wraps were produced in 2008. Of those, 3,570,000 tons (90%) were discarded.
- Plastic bags are the second-most common type of ocean refuse, after cigarette butts (2008)
- Every square mile of ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.
- A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade.
Of course there are other solutions
Plastic Tax: In 2001, Ireland implemented a plastic tax (or PlasTax); the first of its kind, this route acknowledges the fact that people will stilloccasionally use plastic bags. This market-based solution discourages daily, thoughtless use of plastic bags by charging a nominal fee per bag at checkout. In a study by the Irish Department of the Environment it was found that plastic bag usage had dropped 93.5%. This breaks down to a drop from 328 to 21 bags per person each year.