« Plastic bags tough to recycle, tougher to ban | Main | Plastic-bag Ban Unravels »

February 08, 2008

Motivated by a Tax, Irish Spurn Plastic Bags

New York Times 02.02.08 & International Herald Tribune 01.31.08Iht_2

In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags...Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Drowning in a sea of plastic bags, countries from China to Australia, cities from San Francisco to New York have in the past year adopted a flurry of laws and regulations to address the problem, so far with mixed success.

After five years of the plastic bag tax, Ireland has changed the image of cloth bags, a feat advocates hope to achieve in the United States. Vincent Cobb, the president of reusablebags.com, who founded the company four years ago to promote the issue, said: “Using cloth bags has been seen as an extreme act of a crazed environmentalist. We want it to be seen as something a smart, progressive person would carry.”

Comment: Ireland has paved the way. What other countries, cities or states will step up, find the political will and follow suit?

Links: New York Times & International Herald Tribune

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c670d53ef00e5502443438833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Motivated by a Tax, Irish Spurn Plastic Bags:

Comments

As a Reusable Bag person for a year now, I decided this January to Stop Using Plastic Bags. It isn't perfect, but just making sure I carry bags around and remembering to ask people to use them instead of the plastic has drastically cut down on the number of plastic bags that enter the house.
And we haven't had a tax or ban in my city yet. Though since San Francisco has, there is the talk...

This is great news about Ireland. I hope this great idea jumps across the big pond.

Yesterday I used my red Acme reusable bag while shopping, handed it to the cashier and she said, "I have one of these in green!" It made my day! Usually I get some bad looks for interrupting the plastic bag flow - but not yesterday!

I, too, am pleased hearing this about Ireland. I wish the States would adopt the same plan. I used to get tired of the grumbles from the high-school kid sacking my groceries, but after more than two years of using my hemp bags, I know I am making a difference. I have sufficiently reduced the number of plastic bags in my house, have gotten family members to buy reusable bags from your site, and I am proud to tell fellow shoppers where to get their own bags like mine. Even without a plastic bag ban, I hope more and more people will jump on the reusable bag train - it is worth the ride!

I, too, am pleased hearing this about Ireland. I wish the States would adopt the same plan. I used to get tired of the grumbles from the high-school kid sacking my groceries, but after more than two years of using my hemp bags, I know I am making a difference. I have sufficiently reduced the number of plastic bags in my house, have gotten family members to buy reusable bags from your site, and I am proud to tell fellow shoppers where to get their own bags like mine. Even without a plastic bag ban, I hope more and more people will jump on the reusable bag train - it is worth the ride!

I get mixed responses to my reusable bags, but I still put them on the counter and they keep using them!

I'd love to see taxation, at least for use of plastic bags. It would create revenue until more, if not all shoppers started using alternatives!

I bring my string bags to the grocery store, and the baggers are always great about it. But at Target, the cashiers always acted like using my bags were a big hardship--one even complained about it openly! So guess which store got a phone call from me. I called the store and e-mailed corporate (being sure to mention that Target is supposedly committed to community improvement) and I noticed a major attitude improvement the next time I went there--even though my cashier was the complainer from the time before!

This is great...YAY IRELAND!!! I agree with the statement at the end of the article "We want it to be seen as something a smart, progressive person would carry.”"

If people will just start doing it and it being the norm, you will be the odd man out when you dare to use plastic or when you have to actually ASK for a plastic bag. Really it's not that hard and once people start doing it it flows and is easy. Especially if sales clerks will become a little more relaxed and educated about it. I hate when they look at me like I have a 3rd eye. It's not that hard, just put the stuff in there, and honestly I use 3 times LESS bags with my resuables than with plastic.

Like I said, if people just start doing it and it being the hip and cool thing to do before too long everyone will do it. Look at computers, who doesn't have a computer these days? hardly anyone, and if you don't you are usually the odd person out, so maybe eventually bags will be the same way, people who DON'T RECYCLE or DON'T try to be green will be few and far between. ;)

I bring my freezer bag and two string bags to the market. The last time I put them in front of my groceries. While I finished unloading my cart, the cashier had put the two string bags into the freezer bag and handed it to the bagger to put in a plastic bag. Is the concept too hard?

I think it is wonderful that it is really going mainstream. Here in Massachusetts everyone seems be going in this direction. Including all the stores capitalizing on selling reusable bags. Even our local Staples, the tween store Claire's, and CVS now sells their own reusable bags. It is great. What a long way it has come . I remember going to Target just a little over a year ago and being told that it was against store policy to carry anything out EXCEPT in one of their plastic bags - for security purposes. Now they sell reusable bags and the cashiers often ask me about mine ( from your site ). In fact, there is almost a friendly competition that goes on with checking out each other's totes..........all this and no threat of taxes or government intervention ! Just people wanting to start somewhere.

I've been using my own cloth bags for groceries, etc. long before it started to become popular, as it is becoming now (I hope). I've dealt with my share of odd looks and recently, with my cloth produce bags, negative comments, but you have to take this as an opportunity to educate people. I've stared at a plastic bag stuck high up across the street in a neighbor's tree for 2 years now and am a little disgusted by littering. People just need to get used to throwing a few bags in their car and remembering to take them into stores with them. It's just a small effort, that when multiplied, could make our neighborhoods a little cleaner and greener. Since so many people are money-conscious, maybe a charge for using the store's plastic (and paper) bags would inspire others to adopt this simple habit. Just say no to plastic!

It's embarrassing to admit that I am a recent convert to reusable shopping bags. The embarassing part is that I didn't "get it" sooner despite the valiant efforts of others to educate me. Fortunately they were persistant, and I did come to understand the importance. I am now proud to announce that as a result, our city has now adopted as part of our Mission, Vision and Goals statements, to achieve "Zero Waste by 2025". As part of achieving that goal we are moving ahead to reduce, and eventually eliminate, non-reusable bags, a phased banning polystyrenes, etc. within our community. We are even creating a Sustainibilty Commission to help move us ahead faster in the right direction. I strongly encourage other communities to move in the same direction. But until that happens, I urge everyone, as individuals, to lead by example within their communities. Don't get frustrated and give up on what is right, or on the people around you. I am proof that even old school conservatives can learn and do change. The leadership that you provide by your daily positive actions and example does matter.

The comments to this entry are closed.