The first is that this past Monday was one year since China banned supermarkets, shops and other markets from supplying free plastic bags. In that year, 40 billion bags were kept from being used. The equivalent of 1.6 million tons of oil was saved, too. People in China are gradually getting used to bringing their own bags. Plastic bags haven't been totally done away with in China. People can buy them, and some stores are still giving them away despite the ban. China Daily reports that
The State Administration of Industry and Commerce issued a regulation that any shopkeeper who provides free plastic bags to customers will receive a 10,000 yuan fine. However, only very few people receive fine in Beijing.
Here in the US there are individual cities that have banned plastic bags. San Francisco banned them in stores over a year ago and since then 5 million plastic bags have been used each month in the city.
Yesterday, news came that Washington DC is on the verge of instituting not a ban, but a 5 cent tax on both plastic and paper bags.
You know what, this annoys me. Not that I think people should be using plastic or paper bags willy nilly. It annoys me because the government has to place these bans and taxes on something that companies and the public could so easily take care of themselves.
Both Ikea and Whole Foods have gotten rid of plastic bags without any edict from the government. I know lots of people who now carry reusable bags not because other bags aren't available at the store but because they think it's the right thing to do.
This is such an easy fix, why do we need the government to fix it for us. Why should city, state or national governments take time, money, and man power to create these laws, bans and taxes on bags and then have to enforce them. It's just lazy on our part.
I admit, I don't always remember my bags. Once in a while, I will take a plastic bag and then reuse it and make sure it gets recycled. Most of the time, though, if I forget my reusable bags, I put the food back in the cart and transfer it to my car without bags or carry the item I'm guying out in my hands. It occurred to me one day that I used to shop at the bulk store BJ's, and they never had bags. Everything just went back in the cart and was carried in the house piece by piece. Why shouldn't I be able to do this in a regular grocery store.
I just don't get it. Why is this switch so difficult for people? Why does it take governmental interference to get us to do the easy, sensible thing?