plastic bags

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California Gets Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

Bag-makers say they want a referendum

(Newser) - After some will-he-or-won't-he speculation, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed America's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags into law . "This bill is a step in the right direction—it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks, and even the vast ocean itself," the... More »

California May Get Nation's First Statewide Ban on Plastic Bags

But it's unclear whether Gov. Jerry Brown will sign legislation

(Newser) - California's legislature has approved what will be a national first if Gov. Jerry Brown goes along—a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in supermarkets and other stores, reports the Los Angeles Times . Lawmakers narrowly approved the measure yesterday in the name of reducing litter on streets and beaches.... More »

Man Says Stuffed Walmart Bag Broke, Killed Wife

William Freis is suing store, bag maker

(Newser) - A Nebraska man is suing Walmart, claiming one of its plastic bags led to his wife's death. William Freis says his wife, Lynette, went shopping in 2010 and the Walmart cashier put her 2-pound bag of rice and two 42-ounce cans of La Choy in just one plastic bag—... More »

LA OKs Nation's Biggest Bag Ban

Plastic grocery bags to go next year

(Newser) - Environmental activists have scored a huge victory in Los Angeles, where the city council has voted 11-1 to make the city the biggest in the US to ban plastic grocery bags. Stores that sell perishable foods—including supermarkets, mini-marts, and retailers like Target that have grocery sections—will be barred... More »

The Gross Ways That Plastic-Bag Bans Backfire

Reusable bags are home to all kinds of germs: Ramesh Ponnuru

(Newser) - Environmental concerns have spurred plastic bag bans or fees in US cities ranging from Los Angeles to Washington—but these measures come with "unintended consequences" that "can be, among other things, kind of gross," writes Ramesh Ponnuru at Bloomberg . It seems that reusable shopping bags can carry... More »

Paper or Cloth? Italy Bans Plastic Bags

Country uses 20 billion a year

(Newser) - Italians use some 20 billion plastic bags yearly—or 300 per person. But that ends tomorrow: the country is banning the non-biodegradable bags in shops, the BBC reports. It’s “a key step forward in the fight against pollution and it makes us all more responsible in terms of... More »

LA County Bans Plastic Bags

And puts a surcharge on paper ones to boot

(Newser) - The LA County Board of Supervisors passed a ban on plastic grocery bags yesterday, and instituted a 10 cent surcharge for each paper bag used instead, in an effort to push customers toward more environmentally-friendly cloth and reusable plastic bags, the LA Times reports. The measure, which is even stricter... More »

Reusable Bags May Hurt Planet, Too

Studies find sacks have risky levels of lead

(Newser) - Now that you’ve made the transition from plastic bags to reusable ones, it turns out they, too, may be an environmental threat, reports the New York Times . Studies show some such bags contain may contain unsafe amounts of lead, which could eventually seep into groundwater if they're disposed of.... More »

Target Will Pay Shoppers to Bring Their Own Bags

Large retailers join smaller niche stores to offer rebates for reusing

(Newser) - Target and CVS will reward customers for using reusable shopping bags, and the efforts could take a billion plastic bags out of circulation. Though some retailers—notably Wal-Mart—have been slow to hop on the eco bandwagon, initiatives at smaller chains such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have met... More »

Not-So-Green Seattle Voters Reject Grocery Bag Tax

(Newser) - The $1.4 million the plastics industry spent to defeat a grocery bag tax initiative paid off yesterday when Seattle voters defied their green reputation to reject the tax, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. The measure would have charged shoppers 20 cents per plastic or paper bag as an incentive to... More »

Delhi Bans Plastic Bags

After time for plan to phase in, penalties will include 5 years in jail

(Newser) - Officials in Delhi have banned the “use, storage, and sale” of plastic bags, the Guardian reports, after Indian environmentalists warned about the dangers of the non-biodegradable bags. Violators could be imprisoned for up to 5 years and fined over $2,000. Plastic bags have become a staple in Delhi... More »

Bloomberg Calls For Plastic Bag Fee in NYC

6¢ charge pleases greenies, would help city's fiscal problems

(Newser) - After an ad campaign urging New Yorkers to use greener alternatives to plastic shopping bags, Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to impose a 6¢-per-bag charge, the Times reports. While environmentalists approve, and the city’s coffers stand to gain, many think the measure will be unpopular with shoppers, and critics... More »

Reusable Bags: A Tricky Shade of Green

Thicker plastic requires more energy to produce, decomposes slower

(Newser) - Reusable shopping bags are this year's “it” giveaway, but they may not be as green as their feel-good slogans—like “Save the world” and "I used to be a plastic bag"—claim. The problem is that old habits die hard—many people simply forget to reuse... More »

Seattle Slaps 20¢ Fee on All Grocery Bags

Paper or plastic, shoppers must pay up

(Newser) - Seattle has staked out its spot atop the greener-than-thou pecking order by approving a 20-cent-per-bag fee that applies to both paper and plastic, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. The move is expected to cut disposable-bag use in half. "The best way to reduce waste is not to create it, and... More »

Baltimore Opts Against Plastic Bag Ban

San Francisco still stands alone after city council vote

(Newser) - A law that would have made Baltimore America’s second plastic-bag-free city got a resounding thumbs down from the city council last night, the Baltimore Sun reports. The council ixnayed the bill, 11-3, citing concerns over the cost and environmental impact of paper bags. “I know there has been... More »

Plastic Bags Getting the Sack Across US

San Francisco ban in effect; taxes, prohibition likely elsewhere

(Newser) - 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... More »

Tax Helped the Irish Bag Plastic

When gov't enacted 33-cent tax, usage dropped 94% in weeks

(Newser) - "Paper or plastic?" is perhaps the last question you'll hear on the Emerald Isle, thanks to a 33-cent tax on each plastic bag that cut Irish consumption by 94% within weeks of its 2002 enactment, reports the New York Times. Cloth bags have become downright fashionable since, but strong... More »

Whole Foods Sacks Plastic Bags

It's back to paper in all 270 stores in the chain

(Newser) - After Earth Day on April 22, customers at any of Whole Foods' 270 stores will be taking home their groceries in a paper bag—unless they bring their own bag, reports the Austin American Statesman's Business Blog. The chain, concerned about the environment, is phasing out plastic bags. Experts say... More »

Beijing Bans Plastic Bags

China outlaws use, manufacture of thin, disposable bags starting in June

(Newser) - The Chinese government says it will prohibit stores from distributing free, disposable plastic bags starting this June, reports the AP. Amid growing fears about the environmental future of the world's largest nation, Beijing is asking people to use baskets or cloth carriers instead of the thin plastic bags that been... More »

Africa Nations Move to Ban Plastic Bags

90% don't make it to dumps, clogging sewers, littering streets

(Newser) - With garbage rotting in the streets and being burnt in toxic bonfires, many African countries are looking to ban plastic bags. Kenya produces 48 million every year, and is now trying to follow Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda by outlawing them. In Nairobi’s slums, bags even clog channels leading out... More »

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