Thanks to a few eagle-eyed Irish Good Human readers (Thanks Guinness & Greengo – and I’m Irish, and I missed the story!), I was pointed to an article in the NY Times about a plastic bag tax in Ireland that has basically eliminated the bags from the country. The tax was instituted in 2002, so I guess it either took a while to really have an effect or the NY Times is way behind the times, but either way it looks like it worked in getting rid of these terrible bags:
In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of these parts.
Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable , on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog.
This last part is what we need to happen here in order to stop the use of these bags. Check out the entire article over at the NY Times, it’s an interesting read and very encouraging to see that programs like this do work. Kudos to San Francisco for making this change; it’s a shame the Los Angeles politicians did not have enough courage to stand up to the Grocers Union and ban them here. Heaven forbid we do something good for everyone at the expense of some grocers and plastic bag manufacturers.
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