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Italy Bans Plastic Bags

Italy Bans Plastic Bags

Banning plastic bags? This time it’s not just a city, or a county, but a whole country!

No More Plastic Bags In Italy

Italy has banned plastic bags, beginning January 1, 2011.

Planet Ark reports:

Italians use about 20 billion bags a year — more than 330 per person — or about one-fifth of the total used in Europe, according to Italian environmentalist lobby Legambiente.

Starting on Saturday, retailers are banned from providing shoppers polyethylene bags. They can use bags made of such material as biodegradable plastic, cloth or paper.

Other European countries have tried voluntary schemes to cut plastic bag use, such as promoting reusable cotton bags. In 2002 Ireland imposed a levy on bags of 15 euro cents (20 U.S. cents) that cut use by 90 percent within a week.

“You are talking of a revolution that is already under way,” Legambiente scientific chief Stefano Ciafani said of the shift to biodegradable bags.

Two hundred municipalities out of Italy’s 8,000 have introduced their own plastic bag bans, including the cities of Turin and Venice, Ciafani said.

Banning plastic bags was originally set for January 2010, but was delayed due to industry opposition.

Plastic Bags Are Wrong For So Many Reasons

It seems obvious that plastic bags should be banned because they are made from petroleum, take too long to break down, and become eye sores and environmental hazards.

Los Angeles County Banned Plastic Bags In November

Care2′s Beth Buczynski reported here last month that the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors was the latest authority to ban plastic bags, in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. As she wrote, grocers that continue to offer plastic bags will be required to charge customers 10 cents per bag.

Several Nations Have Already Banned Them

Other nations and cities are also acting to ban plastic bags: in Ireland a steep fee on plastic bags introduced in 2003 has led people to use reusable cloth totes almost exclusively instead of plastic bags.

China, Australia, South Africa, Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands have followed suit, and other countries have also contemplated such a ban.

In the United States, plastic bag bans have passed in San Francisco, Oakland and Malibu.

What’s Wrong With Cloth Bags?

In Italy, many supermarket chains have started using biodegradable bags ahead of the plastic bag ban. And why not? Doesn’t that make perfect sense? And what’s wrong with taking your own bags to the supermarket, just like people used to do not so long ago?

Related Stories:

Los Angeles County Passes Sweeping Ban On Plastic Bags

Ban The Plastic Bag (Video)

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146 comments

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6:16PM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

Thank you Italy!

6:15PM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

Thank you Italy!

6:00PM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

Thank you Italy!

7:22PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

How great that a whole country is moving ahead. Hopefully more will follow.

8:12PM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

go Italy!

11:56PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

Iva, I'm sorry, but I disagree with you.

First of all, plastic bags are made from petroleum, which, as we know, is scarce, expensive, and a pollutant.

Next, people simply do not change their behavior based on things which they don't see affecting them personally. This isn't a question of landfills. Most people will continue to throw plastic bags away in the kinds of places where they shouldn't be, and the bags will continue to strangle and/or kill sea life, birds, and other animals.

To worry about lost jobs is not the issue. The same workers can likely find jobs in the manufacturing plants of what will replace the plastics. Just as we can't be worrying about the jobs of loggers who destroy rainforests, so we mustn't risk our earth's health just because of some plastic bag-factory workers.

5:18AM PST on Mar 4, 2011

Most of the plastic bags used nowdays are just not degradable but on the landfills DO NOT pollute groundwaters. Can You belive how many people would lose their jobs if the whole world banned plastic bags? All the producers would have to close their factories... this is not the solution. The problem is just the stupid people that throw the bags into places it's not ment to go, and this problem will not be sloved with a global ban. This problem will be solved only once the global mentality about waste disposal changes.

12:14AM PST on Mar 3, 2011

YAY!!! More proof the goal is attainable!

7:23PM PST on Jan 9, 2011

The happiest news I've read in a while...Thank you Italy for showing the rest of the world how!

6:31PM PST on Jan 9, 2011

I love it :D. I've been trying to convince my little town at least to give up offering plastic bags, but they are leary of trying.

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