Emily Pilloton

KILL PLASTIC BAGS WITH TAXES: look to Ireland

by , 02/04/08

plastic bag ban, china bag ban, plastic bags banned, city ban on bags, bags banned, plastic shopping bags, ireland bags

Ireland plastic bag usage drops dramatically after plastic bag taxes are instated!

With all the recent bans on plastic bags around the world, it’s natural to wonder just how effective all the bag banning will be. Instead of simply enacting laws to phase out plastic bags – which seems like a wishy-washy attempt at most, Ireland has implemented a tax-based incentive to cut plastic bag useage — and it seems to be working wonders. Between the government tax on bags, an effective advertising campaign, and public support, plastic bag usage has dropped 94% in a matter of weeks.

Plastic bags were not outlawed, just made publicly unacceptable. Could this be the most effective way to rid stores of a wasteful and unnecessary product that seems to have sneakily insinuated itself into the generic shopping experience? We think Ireland is a great example for cities and countries around on the world who want to tackle the plastic bag problem decisively and effectively.

From San Francisco to Melbourne, and entire countries from China to Bangladesh, to some African nations, the tides are a-turnin’ against plastic bags. Check out our previous coverage on bag bans in San Francisco, Hong Kong, Melbourne, China, Israel, and several countries in Africa.

+ Ireland Bag Tax via NY Times

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11 Comments

  1. Aging Hippie August 19, 2008 at 12:11 am

    I’ve been making cloth bags and using them to carry groceries and all my stuff for YEARS! Finally, the rest of the world can catch up:-)

  2. It’s in the bag &... March 23, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    [...] other one is over at Inhabitat and it’s called “Kill Plastic Bags with Taxes: Look to Ireland” by Emly Pilloton.  The government there has imposed a tax on plastic [...]

  3. Death of a Culture &laq... March 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    [...] On Light Bags – Business Daily: LINK KILL PLASTIC BAGS WITH TAXES: look to Ireland – Inhabitant: LINK China targets plastic bags – Los Angeles Times: LINK Bagging the plastic – Jerusalem Post: [...]

  4. oakling February 12, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Here in California I find that most grocery stores will give you three to five cents off if you bring your own bag, or sometimes they have an option to donate that money to charity – there’s even a used clothing store, Crossroads, that does the charity option. But at many of them, if you don’t use a bag at all – which is usually my option – they don’t give you the refund! Seems ridiculous, since the point of the refund is to encourage me not to use more “disposable” bags (check) and to save them money on bags (check)!

  5. Craig February 11, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Well – so glad to see this having a positive impact in Ireland. Bring it to the UK as soon as possible. I am continually amazed how people shop here without taking their own bags.

  6. fiona February 9, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    I am irish and while i think the no plastic bag law has been greatly recieved, the problem is that many big stores still what you to be a walking advertisement , when you purchase something from their store. so what many of them offer ( or rather hand you) , is a high glossy paper bag. when you consider that a regular brown paper bag takes 15time more energy to produce ( i acknowledge that this is only one stage of the lifecylce), however considering this production energy you can imagine the energy and enviromental costs of these high gloss / high print paper .

    my central point then i guess is :the tax levy on plastic bags may be good, however this paper bag adoption is tainted. it gives the irish consumers a get out of jail free card. tighter legislation needs to be inplaced before anyone gets a pat on the back.

    slainte

  7. Nathan February 9, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    I too am amassing a reusable shopping bag collection. Each of the stores we shop at sell them for $1 at the register. Our city also handed them out for free for a week at each of the stores. They work great and I don’t feel guilty about the plastic bags. We have a huge bag filled with them and need to drop them off for recycling!

  8. Benjamin February 6, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    I live in Knoxville Tennessee USA
    Food City a grocery store chain has started to sale these same bags.
    They are $1 a bag, but they fit a lot of good and are sturdy; you just have to remember to bring the bag next time.
    I bought two just because they are at the checkout.

  9. Mika February 6, 2008 at 8:08 am

    I am living in Ireland, and but two days ago I overheard an elderly woman being offered a plastic bag for her goods, she kindly rejected, “Ohp, not for me, we’ve got to mind our bags now haven’t we?”
    The woman at the register said that suddenly they cannot even get rid of the bags!

    Granted, this occurs in a country where many still throw wrappers and bottles over their shoulder and look the other way…

  10. UriShare - Ireland show... February 5, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    [...] Ireland shows the way to reduce plastic bag useGood piece from Inhabitat showing how tax law rather than legal bans has reduced the number of plastic bags in Eire. Practical wisdom. Submitted: 1 minute ago Category: Science Submitter: RssFeed Website: http://www.inhabitat.com Report this link: Click here to report Comments: 0 [...]

  11. Philip February 5, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Ireland was also the first country to ban smoking in the workplace, in n March 2004.
    That too is a big success supported by smokers and non-smokers alike.
    See
    “increase in support for this law since its introduction, even among smokers, underpins its effectiveness”
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/32164.php

    Smokers go outside pubs and restuarants to smoke, even in the worst winter weather, without fuss. A new sub-culture, in fact.!

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