Paul L. Caron

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ireland Eliminates Plastic Grocery Bags with 33-Cent Tax; ATM Receipts, Chewing Gum Are Next

Interesting article in the New York Times:  Motivated by a Tax, Irish Spurn Plastic Bags, by Elisabeth Rosenthal:

In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of these parts. Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94%. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable — on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog. ...

In January almost 42 billion plastic bags were used worldwide, according to; the figure increases by more than half a million bags every minute. A vast majority are not reused, ending up as waste — in landfills or as litter. Because plastic bags are light and compressible, they constitute only 2 percent of landfill, but since most are not biodegradable, they will remain there. ...

Ireland has moved on with the tax concept, proposing similar taxes on customers for A.T.M. receipts and chewing gum.

(Hat Tip:  Ann Murphy.)

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I think that this is a veryy good idea and im trying to do the same thing for my class right now and im wandering how i would go about doing this? and i hope that it will spread throughout the state and then finaly the country. I searched more into it and i saw that your countrys plastic bag consuption went down by 90% and by this happening you saved 18,000,000 liters of oil.... that is ouststanding how 1 thing can make a differance like that.

Posted by: Tyler wells | Mar 17, 2008 7:55:41 AM