Wednesday, November 22, 2006
In the bag
Plastic bags are the scourge of humanity. IMO, anyways. They last forever, they're cheap and globally available, and they are completely disposable. During my travels in developing countries, I see them piled in garbage dumps and and twisted around vegetation at the side of the road. They blow around the streets of even the most advanced cities in the world, and around even the prettiest countrysides. And man are they ugly.
But Ireland has sorted out a solution: they charge the equivalent of about 20-22 cents per plastic bag as a "bag tax". All fund raised go back to the Environment Ministry to be redistributed for funding environmental projects.
And voila! The government managed to cut plastic bag use by over 90% and raise 3.5 million Euros in the first five months. Shoppers use their own reusable bags, and less plastic, and fewer emissions enter the world.
Smart. Easy. Ireland's been doing it since 2002.
Soooooooo.... Apparently Canadians use 10-15 billion plastic bags per year.