There's an article on TreeHugger that's really something to boast about. NYC mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is looking to charge consumers 6 cents per plastic bag (5 of which would go to the city, 1 of which would go back to the store). The hope is to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags and promote the use of reusable shopping bags.
Plastic bags are an inefficient use of non-renewable materials – they take a long time to break down, are brutally ugly eyesores, can interfere with water drainage and recycling systems and, worst of all, are totally unnecessary. Companies around the world churn out over 4 trillion plastic bags a year. Ugh.
While paper bags are a better option in some respects, they are still unneeded waste. This is why we love the idea of promoting the use of reusable shopping bags. They're a much better alternative for the environment and some stores even give you discounts for bringing in your own bag. These bags can be made of a bunch of different materials all varying in their degree of greenness, but what makes them really effective is when you use them over and over and we're all in support of that.
Our own hometown, San Francisco, became the first city in the US to ban the use of plastic bags back in 2007. While we like to think that SF helped pave the way for other cities to realize just how dirty plastic bags can be, we are most impressed by the results seen in Ireland, who placed a 15 cent levy on plastic bags in 2002, and saw a 90% reduction in their use (resulting in 1 billion fewer bags used per year) and raised over 12 million dollars of dedicated environmental program funding in the first year – all things that we’d love to see result from the New York City plan. And in case you didn't know it, we have our own version of a reusable bag that'll help get you into plastic bag rehab too.
Rubbish in blue (bag) image by SouthbankSteve