Were you ever curious how other states and countries dealt with retail bag use? Well, look no further. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has created a comprehensive website listing proposed or existing regulations related to retail shopping bags. The website was created in response to The Energy, Climate Change, and Economic Security Act of 2008 (House Bill 7135) signed into law by Florida Governor Crist. A section of the Bill requires DEP to perform an analysis of the necessity and efficacy of local and statewide regulation of bags given to consumers by places of retail.
The website provides a detailed list of countries worldwide that have existing or proposed retail bag regulations. Simply click on a region, such as Europe, and a list and map of countries and their specific regulations will appear.
Regulations are broken into four categories:
- Countrywide Enacted Policies
- Countrywide Proposed Policies
- Local Community Enacted Policies
- Local Community Proposed Policies
Countries Leading the Way
Brazil– The Brazilian government enacted a ban on plastic bags in October 2007.
Eritrea– This little known East-African country banned plastic bags outright in 2005.
France– Plastic bags will be completely outlawed in France by 2010. Paris banned non-biodegradable plastic bags in large stores in 2007 in order to reduce city pollution.
India– The Indian government enacted a plastic bag ban in June of 2005. The ban was enacted in response to localized flooding caused by plastic bags clogging waterways, as well as to prevent sacred cows from ingesting plastic bags.
Tanzania– Tanzania banned plastic bags in 2006.
Bags, Bags and More Bags
- Approximately 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are used each year.
- A five-year study found small plastic bags to make up about 9 percent of the debris found along U.S. coastlines.
- Before plastic bags became popular to retailers in the 1970’s, brown paper bags were the choice of most retailers.
- Each year, Americans use about 10 billion paper bags, the equivalent of 14 million trees being cut down.
- Though recyclable, only 10 to 15 percent of paper bags are being recycled.
How to Reduce Your Retail Footprint
We all shop for groceries and products on a regular basis. Reduce your retail footprint, by utilizing the following tips:
- Carry a reusable shopping bag with you.
- Recycle any paper or plastic bags you might be given from a retailer.
- Consider buying items with less packaging.
- Check the Florida DEP website to check any bag regulations in your area.