The party's over for plastic bags, USA Today reports. A San Francisco ban on petroleum-based bags already has imitators from coast to coast. Massachusetts is eyeing a bill that would "nudge" consumers with a 2-cent tax on each bag; Connecticut could slap retailers with a $1,000 fine for using non-biodegradable sacks.
"It's a modest act that makes people feel that they're actually contributing," says the San Francisco ban's sponsor, who notes plastic-bag litter has noticeably dropped while use of reusable totes has increased. New York City and California require some retailers to recycle them, a move preferred by the American Chemistry Council, which says plastic requires 40% less energy to make than paper.