Around the World – Plastic Bag Bans and Regulations

Published On June 22, 2010

Many countries around the world have banned the use of plastic shopping bags. Here, we’ve listed some of the reasons for the bans, the advantages of the bans and countries around the world that are taking part.

Reasons for banning plastic bags
Plastic bags are a major hazard to our environment in so many ways. Here’s a list of the major reasons for plastic bag bans:

  • They do not compose at a fast rate- most plastic bags take 20-1000 years to decompose.
  • Wildlife die every year as a result of trying to digest a plastic bag that they have mistaken for food. This causes blockages in their intestines and they die as a result.
  • Marine life also suffer this same fate as they mistake plastic bags for jellyfish.
  • The number of plastic bags is increasing because they cannot be decomposed.This is causing a huge amount of waste.
  • Plastic bags can block drains and cause floods
  • Plastic bags are costly, not only in the production but in the clean up required as a result.

Advantages for both consumers and businesses
The banning of plastic bags means that consumers and businesses can do something positive for the environment.

Not only are environmentally friendly bags made from organic cotton and other materials sustainable,they are also re-usable and more durable.

From a business perspective, environmentally friendly promotional bags can be used by your customers over and over, exposing your brand even more.

Australia’s leading state in banning plastic bags
South Australia is the first state in Australia to introduce the ban. This will mean that approximately 400 million less plastic bags will be used in South Australia each year.

Retailers have welcomed the ban, and have introduced green bags, offering customers environmentally friendly promotional bags that they can re-use when shopping. Many of them have branded the enviro bags and have seen the plastic bag ban as a chance to promote their business through promotional bags.

Countries around the world who are doing their part
Many countries around the world are doing their part for the environment by introducing a plastic bag ban. A few examples include:

  • San Francisco was the first city in America that placed a full ban on plastic bags from major supermarkets and pharmacies. Soon after California made it compulsory for large supermarkets to recycle plastic bags.
  • China has banned all shops from handing out plastic bags for free and it has outlawed the production of ultra-thin carry bags.
  • By this year Italy has promised to ban plastic bags and has had a levy placed on the use of plastic bags for a decade.
  • Supermarkets in Switzerland are required to charge for plastic bags.
  • Modbury in Devon was the first town in Britain to ban plastic bags in 2007.

If countries across the globe introduce a ban of plastic bags, we can significantly reduce the impact they have on the environment. In the coming years let’s hope other countries will follow the examples of the ones listed above and join this important cause.