Sunday, February 03, 2008

Once Again, The Irish Are Saving Civilization

A truly happy story. Excerpt:

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 percent.

Hard to believe this story took six years to cross the pond. It's even harder to believe we can't have such a policy in this country. Who knew the plastic bag manufacturing lobby had so much clout?


jiminy jilliker said...

The plastic bag industry is the oil industry. All the more reason not to use the things.

Bonus (mildly related) fun fact: In Ireland they refer to orphaned plastic bags that wind up blown into trees and power lines "witches knickers." I like it.

bjkeefe said...

"Witches knickers!" I like it!

I've heard a couple of other good ones, stemming from South Africa and from people who live near Central Park in NYC, but I'll be hanged if I can remember them.

You know what I'd like to see? Some data on the environmental impact of manufacturing those reusable grocery bags. I myself am a fan and user of them, but I do wonder if it's the case that making one of those is equivalent to making some really large number of throwaway plastic bags. Sometimes we green folk are a little blind about our "solutions."