Friday, January 8, 2010

Jumping on the "ban-wagon"

By Amy Ricard, Communications and Policy Associate

If the flurry of recent media attention is any indication, it is looking like 2010 may turn out to be the year we put an end to plastic bags. While DC residents are busy adjusting to a new five cent fee on plastic bags, several other cities have indicated they might be moving in the same direction. In fact, state legislators in Maryland and Virginia are pushing for a fee on plastic bags and border town Brownsville, TX just recently passed a plastic bag ban that will go into effect by 2011.

From Florida to DC to a handful of cities here in the Bay Area, more and more cities are jumping on the "ban-wagon," so to speak, by working to end the free distribution of plastic – and often paper – bags within their jurisdictions.

Even Walmart is getting in on the fun. Three stores in Northern California recently began pilot programs to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags by charging 15 cents for a reusable bag, rather than handing out free plastic bags.

Have we reached a tipping point? Perhaps the San Jose Mercury News said it best when they editorialized: "This is the way movements begin. Somebody had to be the first to ban smoking in restaurants. Who questions the wisdom of that now? It will be the same with plastic bags a generation from now."

We hope so.

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