Day: February 2, 2008

Plastic Bag Use – Money Talks

In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of these parts.Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable — on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog.

Motivated by a Tax, Irish Spurn Plastic Bags – New York Times

Turns out that you can swiftly alter habits, attitudes, perception and behavior by charging people 33 cents per bag! Plastic bags are a convenience only because they are free.

Also, if you read the entire article, you will realize that ad-hoc, voluntary, or piecemeal approaches by individual retailers, cities or states will not make as much of an impact as a national policy.

All hail Ireland!

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