Plastic Shopping Bags Being Banned
July 17, 2007
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 380 billion plastic shopping bags are used in the U.S. annually. Only a tiny fraction (0.6 percent) of the plastic bags are recycled. As many as 1 trillion plastic bags may be used globally each year, or about one million bags per minute.
It takes 1,000 years for plastic bags to degrade. In addition, plastic bags contain harmful chemical such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and diethylhexyl phthalate, which is a carcinogen. About 100,000 birds, marine mammals, whales, and sea turtles each year either choke to death on plastic bags, or die of an intestinal blockage after eating one.
Steps are being taken in many countries to curb plastic bag use. The Republic of Ireland has enacted a 15 cent tax on plastic shopping bags, which has curbed their use by 90 percent in that country. Bangladesh banned plastic shopping bag after finding that they were blocking drainage systems and causing floods. Taiwan, Singapore, South Africa, and several East African countries have also banned plastic shopping bags. The housewares chain IKEA is now charging five cents per plastic bag, and estimates the move will reduce plastic bag use in their U.S. stores by 50 percent.
San Francisco will soon become the first city in North America to ban plastic bags from supermarkets and pharmacies.
The Intelligence Daily June 27, 2007