What do South Africa, San Francisco, Leaf Rapids (Manitoba) and China have in common? They all cracked down on stores handing out free plastic bags.
The Australian government stopped short of a legal ban, instead challenging retailers to cut back on bag use voluntarily, achieving mixed results. The Irish government imposed a punitive tax on bags and consumption quickly dropped by over 90% ~ prompting the government to ratchet up the tax even higher.
These tough actions have been popular with the public and the plastics industry is going to have to act fast to stem the rising tide of public revulsion against the ubiquitous eyesore, dubbed South Africa's "national flower" because it was littered so profusely along roadsides.
Local politicians here in the Lower Mainland are sensing which way this wind is blowing. Will we be next?
But here's something to think about: the bags are only popular because our local governments obligingly collect them from our homes and dispose of them for us.
Isn't it about time our communities stopped enabling our addiction to waste by making it so irresistably easy to get rid of all our useless throw-aways?
Are we ready to tell our politicians to put a ban on disposing of plastic bags in the city garbage? That would sure make consumers would think twice about accepting a free bag.