Continuing Efforts Around The World for The End of Plastic Bag Usage

Posted by — August 5, 2011 12:31 pm
A Relic of the Past? Photo courtesy of

As citizens around the world become acutely aware of the precarious health of our environment, more action is being taken to eliminate one of the many hazards that plague our 21st century society — single use disposable plastic bags. In our continuing report, we see that a growing number of  communities are stepping up and taking action to ban these blow-away bags. Just in the last week:

The Austin, Texas City Council decided to move forward with a plan to ban single-use plastic bags. In a 7-0 vote, the council elected to ask the city manager to develop a plan to phase out plastic bags. According to Austin’s Solid Waste Services Department, city residents use 263 million plastic bags a year and the city spends $850,000 annually on cleanup and disposal, as reported by U.S. News. We have provided a link to view the video of the actual meeting of the City Council

In Laguna Beach, California, the city’s Environmental Committe proposed a ban on plastic bags two years ago. However, city leaders decided to wait for the California Supreme Court’s decision on the plastic bag ban enacted by Manhattan Beach, CA. Now that the court’s decision affirming Manhattan Beach’s right to continue with its plans, Laguna Beach’s Water Quality Department has begun the process of creating a plastic bag ordinance.

Sonoma County, California. All nine cities in Sonoma County would need to endorse this proposed plastic bag ban/paper bag fee ordinance for it to be effective. This past week, the City Councils for the two cities of Windsor and Petaluma voted to endorse the proposal of the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency. At a city council meeting in Rohnert Park on August 2 however, council members voted against the proposal, citing cost issues, as well as consumer choice.

San Luis Obispo County, California. The county’s Integrated Waste Management Authority has directed its staff to prepare an ordinance that would ban use of paper as well as plastic bags at stores throughout the county, with the goal for the ban to become effective by July 1, 2012. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposal in September.

And “across the pond” in London, England, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced a bold plan to end plastic bag use before the city hosts the Olympic Games in 2012. The national Climate Change Act of 2008 included a clause which gave the government the power to implement a ban, but at the time retailers promised to take voluntary measures to cut bag numbers. However, the number of bags issued by supermarkets actually went upby 333 million, taking the total consumption of plastic bags up to 6.4 billion, reports the  DailyMail.

As always, we applaud the efforts of anyone who writes a letter, signs a petition, attends a meeting, or brings a reusable bag when they go shopping.

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