Sunday, February 3, 2008

A great environmental policy

Tax plastic shopping bags. Ireland has done so with great success, says the New York Times:

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.

Plastic bags fill 2% of our landfills and are not biodegradable. We should phase them out, too.

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