By Tami Wyness
World wide plastic bag use is being discouraged and banned. The devastating environmental impact that plastic bags use has is being taken seriously in governments all over the world from Uganda to Australia.
As with anything, the banning of plastic bags isn’t the be all and end all solution to the behaviour of overconsumption: there needs to be a underlying mindset shift. It’s not just about using paper bags instead (which has it’s own environmental impact) but looking at our relationship to ‘stuff’ and the world that we have the honour of living in. However, banning the plastic bag is, in my book, a good start!
There are a few websites that have world maps tracking the bans and law changes around plastic bag use, here is one that you might find interesting (noting that there aren’t any in New Zealand?!):
Track the Movement
screenshot from: http://www.chicobag.com/track-movement
and here are a couple good stories to back it up.
The Guardian reported that a West Australian council will become the first in Australia to enforce a law banning single-use, non-biodegradable plastic bags. The city of Fremantle will introduce a new law banning retailers from providing shoppers with single-use, non-biodegradable plastic bags. Shop owners who ignore the ban will intially face a fine of $150 but reoffenders may face fines up to $2,500!
So what will banning single use plastic bags do you wonder? Well, it’s about changing underlying consumer behaviour and creating mindset shifts in people. Western Australian Greens MP, Lynn MacLaren, said
“Evidence from SA shows that banning plastic bags helps shift community attitudes to become more environmentally aware. Consumers bringing reusable bags jumped from around six in 10 to more than nine in 10 once the ban was implemented.”
To read the original story click here
It has been said by environmental campaigners that shoppers use plastic bags for just 20 minutes on average but they take up to 1,000 years to degrade. With this in mind, in June this year French MPs voted to ban single-use plastic bags in supermarkets by 2016 to help protect the environment.
This is not just the plastic bags at the counter, but also the use of plastic bags in the fruit and vege section of the supermarket.
This trend in banning plastic bags is vital to begin to counter the massive plastic waste ‘continent’ that covers 1,000 km x 2,000 km of the Pacific and Indian oceans.
(to read original story click here)
My vote is for New Zealand to do the same.
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