Thursday, October 9, 2008

Plastic Bags – Who’s Doing What?

Here's a quick run-down which shows what measures some countries & businesses are taking to reduce the environmental impact of single-use plastic bags.

We all need to do more - contact Bag People to see what you can do.



Across the country shoppers are encouraged to use reusable bags which cost around $1.00 & can be reused many times.

Some localities are leading the charge & banning plastic bags of their own accord & the Federal Government stated it would consider national action to phased out plastic bags by the end of 2008.

Australians used 4.84 billion plastic bags in 2007, at a wholesale cost of $0.0018 each.

In South Australia free single use plastic bags will banned as of the end of 2008.



Plastic shopping bags are banned in Bangladesh.



Plastic shopping bags are banned in Bhutan, but the ban has not succeeded due to minimal monitoring & alternatives are not freely available.



As of 1st June, 2008 China has banned all supermarkets, department stores & shops from offering free plastic bags. The businesses must mark prices on each plastic bag & NOT include the cost of bags in the product purchase.


Hong Kong

Hong Kong has not banned businesses from offering free plastic bags. However, they are awareness is being raised by events such as "No Plastic Bag Day" started in 2006 & organised by the Environmental Protection Department

Statistics show that 7 million people disposes of 23 million bags per day.

In 2009 it is proposed that each bag is charged at 50 cents.



A plastic bag ban in Paris started in late 2007 & the national ban will start on 1st January 2010.



The Spanish Government is attempting to start a National Plan of Integrated Waste which has a goal to ban single-use non-biodegradable plastic bags in 2010.



German supermarkets charge between 5 and 25 cents per bag.

Almost all outlets offer a reusable alternative for about €1 with some high-street retail shops giving away a reusable bag.



4th March, 2002 saw the Republic of Ireland start charging €0.15 for every plastic shopping bag which reduced consumption by 90%.

Most supermarkets passed the tax directly through & on 1st July, 2007 the charge was increased to €0.22



Israel charges 1NIS for every plastic bag, except for bags that contain fish, meat, poultry or fresh produce.

The additional charge subsidises the sale of reusable bags to assist raise public profile.


New Zealand

2007 saw the national campaign start with the objective to introduce a shopping bag levy similar to Ireland's, with some local govt's announcing they would be plastic bag free.


South Africa

Environment and Tourism Minister of South Africa – Mohammed Valli Moosa – has called plastic bags the "national flower" in jest because of the proliferation of litter.

It is illegal to give away plastic bags, they must be sold with the govt. collecting 3 cents per bag as an environmental levy.



The Turkish community uses an average 1.2 bags per day per person.

In late 2008 the govt. is expected to announce the result of a feasibility study for eliminating plastic bags in favor of envirobags.


United Kingdom

Tesco uses a "Green Clubcard Point" which has an incentive 1p to 4p, for each bag reused.

Sainsbury's has removed all free plastic bags from checkouts to increase reuse of bags by customers, they offer a range of reusable bags for customers to purchase.

In 2007 IKEA was the 1st to totally remove single use bags from every outlet & offer reusable bags in 2 sizes from 15p to 30p.


United States

Plastic overtook Paper as the bag of choice in late 80’s - early 90’s.

But now the tide is turning...

San Francisco (City & County) became the first city to ban plastic shopping bags on 27th March, 2007, Oakland soon followed & on 1st January, 2009 Seattle will implement a 20c charge on plastic bags & LA will implement a similar charge in 2010.


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