Site Makes International Bag Laws Easy to Find

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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

Europe has a number of countries leading plastic bag legislation. - Florida DEPThe site highlights many countries around the world making great strides in reducing retail bag waste.

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.
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  1. There is legislation in Brazil, Argentina, India, Malta, Slovenia and Romania which encourages the use of degradable plastic bags, and similar legislation is proposed in other countries.

    Ordinary or recycled plastic will lie or float around in the environment for decades, but it can now be made oxo-biodegradable.

    This is done by including an additive which breaks the molecular chains within the polymer and makes it degrade then biodegrade, on land or at sea, in the light or the dark, in heat or cold, in whatever timescale is required, leaving NO fragments NO methane and NO harmful residues. Oxo-bio can be tested according to American Standard 6954, and is certified safe for food-contact. It is made from a by-product of oil refining which used to be wasted, so nobody is importing extra oil to make it. It can be recycled, and made from recyclate, and there is little or no additional cost.

    California legislators have been led down the wrong path by the cornstarch lobby. Plastics from corn do NOT have a smaller carbon footprint than conventional plastics – consider the hydrocarbons burned by the machines which clear the land, plough and harrow the land, make the fertilisers and pesticides and bring them to the land, sow the seed, harvest the crop, take it to the factory, and run the autoclaves.

    Land and water should be used to grow food, not to make plastic. Also as they are thicker and heavier than normal plastic “compostables” need more trucks to transport them, using more diesel fuel and occupying more road space.

    “Compostable” plastics are too expensive for everyday use, and there are very few composting facilities. Also, as it is expensive to separate compostable plastics from other plastics, many industrial composters do not want plastic of any kind in their feedstock, and it is not suitable for home-composting. Compostable plastics damage the recycling process if they get into in a normal plastic recycling waste stream

  2. I am delighted to have found this article! As president of Ecoroot, I spend hours trying to track down various municipalities’ efforts to reduce plastic bag waste. Thanks for the heads up on a one-stop update site!

    Re: Mike’s comment: Mike, where can I learn more about oxo-bio and how it biodegrades? I thought all plastics only photodegraded.

  3. No offense but many countries world wide do not agree with the use of oxo-degradable plastic as it is still plastic and plastic can not be degraded anyway (not before 450 years). The additives put in plastic to make it degrade are usually heavy metals and they can only break the molecular chains within the polymer. Now, what we will get is the smallest form of plastic (powder size) which can be contaminated very easily with food that we eat, the air we breath, in the water, soil, etc. Imagine how easy we can un-intentionally consume this plastic into our body and same go for those fish, ocean animals etc.

  4. Hi,

    I am from Delhi, India. We have a retail showroom here. Can you please provide me the detail of plastic bag ban here. Also i want to know, whether Non Woven Carry bags are also banned.

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