In my previous posts, I discussed the bans on plastic bags in Seattle and California.
Now, I want to look on a worldwide scale. Many countries across the globe have bans, regulations, or laws on plastic bag use. I highlighted some particularly interesting regulations in bold font.
Australia—2009 South Australia ban on plastic checkout bags. 2011 Northern Territory ban. 2011 Australian Capital Territory ban. 2012 Woorabinda (Queensland) ban. 2013 Fremantle (west Australia) ban. 2013 Tasmania Ban. One more law for banning plastic bag in Queensland will be passed in 2018.
Bangladesh—2002 ban. In fact, it is the first country to ban plastic bags. Suffers from lack of enforcement. Ban spurred from floods induced by littered bags.
Botswana—2006 levy on plastic bags.
Burma—2013 ban in Rangoon.
Cameroon—Elimination of plastic bags by 2014.
Canada—2013 voted for banning plastic bags in Toronto. However, it was overturned in November 2012.
Chile—2013 ban in the City of Pucon.
China—2008 ban on manufacture and use of thinnest plastic bags. Charge on thicker bags from any type of store. Now, China uses 50% fewer bags.
Denmark—2003 tax for plastic bags. In 2014 Denmark had lowest plastic bag use in Europe. The rate was 4 bags per person per year!
Eritrea—2005 ban on plastic bags.
European Union—2013 proposal for EU states to reduce the use of lightweight plastic bags. 2014 directive to reduce plastic bag use by 50% by 2017 and 80% by 2019.
This chart showing a realistic problem between European and plastic bags.
Germany—Stores that provide plastic bags must pay recycling tax.
Haiti—2012 ban on plastic bags and foam food packaging.
Hong Kong—2009 fee on bags. 90% reduction on use of plastic bags.
India—Efforts towards banning bags in certain parts of the country. Cities include Delhi, Mumbai, Karwar, Tirumala, Vasco, and Rajasthan, though, enforcement is not strong.
Ireland—2002 implemented fee on plastic bags. 2013 study shows a 20x decrease in use since the fee was implemented. The tax was raised in 2007. Money raised is put into an Environmental Fund.
Israel—2008 bill to charge for plastic bags did not go into law.
Italy—2012 shift to bioplastic bags with discontinued use of single-use plastic bags
Ivory Coast—2013 law banning production, sale, and use of plastic bags
Kenya—2011 ban of manufacture and import of plastic bags.
Malaysia—2011 law puts the tax on bags only on Saturdays in Selangor. Penang taxes bags every day.
Mali—2013 ban of production, importation, possession, sale and use of non-biodegradable plastic bags. WOW!
Mauritania—2013 ban on plastic bags. 70% of cattle and sheep in the capital city died from eating plastic bags.
Mexico-2010 ban and fine on plastic bags. The legislation is not observed.
Myanmar—2009 order for factories to stop producing plastic bags.
Northern Ireland—2013 implemented charge on plastic bags. The charge is 5 pence. Revenue goes towards the Department of the Environment.
Pakistan—2013 plastic bag ban for traditional plastic bags.
Philippines—2013 ban on plastic bags and foam food packaging in capital.
Rwanda—2008 countrywide ban on plastic bags.
Scotland—2014 charge of five pence for all types of bags. Proceeds used by retailers.
South Africa—2003 countrywide levy on bags. Reduced plastic bag consumption. 2010 report states that levy is too low to be effective.
Tanzania—1996 ban by the government, minimal results. Reintroduced ban in 2006.
Tiwan—2003 ban on plastic bags BUT was lifted in 2006.
Uganda—2007 ban on tax bags. Barely enforced.
Wales—2011 charge of 5 pence on bags.
This spread of countries shows there is action around the world to reduce plastic bag use. Furthermore, this site shows an interactive map pinpointing countries with plastic bag bans.
I’ve now shown how this project is tied to countries all over the world. This project also has a connection with our class. In class, we’ve talked about the importance of populations supporting green initiatives. If countries and governments do not have the backing of their people, environmental legislation will not be effective. For example, in California, there is generally a more “green” approach to things. There are more policies regarding environmental issues. The population of California is more supportive of these topics, thus the legislation can be effective. On the other hand, there are places in the US that are not as supportive. For example, Columbus, Ohio, my hometown. Columbus is considering enacting a fee on plastic bags after recycling bags is not very popular. An article from the Columbus Dispatch states that the spokesman for the mayor stated that people are not responding to recycling of bags and thus additional measures should be taken. However, not all citizens believe this is necessary. For more information see:
To conclude, there are other cities in the U.S (primarily in the Midwest and East Coast) that have had failed plastic bag bans. The state government did not have the support they need to pass new legislation. This is significant! If there is a shift in thinking here, cities can begin banning bags. This would greatly decrease the use across the US and encourage other countries to make changes as well. I hope someday we can be close to the rate of Denmark – using only 4 bags per person a year!