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An estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. A recently published report found out that “the inks and colorants used on some bags contain lead, a toxin. Every year, humans throw away some 131 billion plastic bags after they’ve been used to transport a prescription home from the drugstore or a quart of milk from the grocery store. It’s equivalent to dumping nearly 12 million barrels of oil.”

These facts have finally motivated a governmental response, promoting new laws to cut down plastic bags use. Let´s take a look at some examples:

UK

Since 2007, the Council of Modbury has banned these bags. Instead, supermarkets offer cotton bags with a fair-trade certification and plastic baskets with and without wheels. However, the UK is still an important plastic bag user, with more than 1 billion plastic bags given away every month.

USA

Even though, for now, the ban only exists in San Francisco, the law could soon expand to the entire state of California. The bags use has also been banned in North Carolina and in some towns in Oregon and Washington.

Mexico

Mexico City has recently adopted the ban. This is the first time such a big city approves this law.

Rwanda

Some countries in Africa, like Rwanda, which has had the ban on plastic bags for years, have also approved such a law. Nowadays, Rwanda is considered one of the cleanest nations in the world.

Europe

Most of the European countries are also trying to discourage the use of bags through financial means. In countries like Italy, Belgium and Ireland the plastic bag use has dropped by 94% during the last 4 years. Germany, Holland and Switzerland have used a different method, setting a fee on this product.

In all these countries the use of the shopping basket is becoming more popular every year, since it provides customers and stores with a practical and eco-friendly alternative to the plastic bags.

 

Learn more about sustainability here.