A report just released shows that the US set a record for recycling plastic bags in 2006. Up a whopping 24 percent, the record high validates a growing national recycling trend sweeping the states. Of the 812 million pounds of plastic recovered, tons will become usable goods like decking. It's thought that the growing trend of bag recycling bins at stores as well as outright banning is helping to dump the plastic problem.
Cities like San Francisco sparked a wave of disdain for the once ubiquitous sack, and today Nashville is not far behind. If not outright bans, some cities are considering taxing the totes. The Massachusetts Legislature is debating a measure that would enact a two-cent tax that could rise all the way to 15 cents per bag over the next seven years. They hope the new tax will shrink the 380 billion plastic bags Americans use every year — a lot of which end up as litter or in a landfill.
It's not just US cities banning the bags — China announced a nationwide outlawing at the beginning of the year, which is scheduled to kick in June 1, 2008. Early adopters have already caused the nation's biggest plastic bag factory to shutter.
Britain has added the bags to a list of possible items eligible for a "sin tax" and is contemplating an outright ban by 2009.
It might just be time to consider your answer to that perennial "paper or plastic" question carefully.
Do you take your own bags to the store? Are you behind the war on bags?