How Many Cities have Plastic Bag Bans?

A number of cities across the United States have implemented plastic bag bans in an effort to reduce pollution and increase recycling efforts. In cities that have not imposed an outright ban on single-use plastic bags, they have instead implemented special taxes on disposable plastic bags. In California alone, almost 90 cities and counties have enacted plastic bag bans.

The latest city to join the effort to stop plastic bag waste is Los Angeles, putting its much-debated ban into effect in 2014. Large supermarkets are the first to be banned from supplying disposable plastic bags to their customers. Consumers can bring their eco friendly shopping bags in, or pay 10 cents for each paper bag they use. The ban goes into effect for smaller independent stores in July.

The first city in the United States to pass a plastic bag ban was San Francisco, making its ban a law in 2007. Their ordinance initially only eliminated plastic bags at large grocery stores but has expanded to include all retail stores and restaurants. Their ban does not apply to produce bags, bags handed out at the meat counter or bags for prescription medication.

Across the world, many other nations have taken efforts to ban plastic bags. China recently celebrated its fifth year without plastic bags across the entire country. The second major city in the western hemisphere, Mexico City, also has a bag ban in effect. Other countries, such as Italy, Belgium and Ireland, have not yet implemented a ban, but have imposed taxes on disposable plastic bags.

These bans are becoming ever more important, as more and more information comes out about the harmful effects disposable plastic bags have on the environment. The plastic bags add to our demand and dependence for oil and are difficult to recycle. Scientists are discovering that the plastic is not the only material that is damaging to the environment; the ink used to print logos and graphics on them contains lead, which sinks into the environment through the soil.

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