It looks like 2008 will keep up last year’s momentum of phasing out plastic bags whenever possible. Just as the new year rang, word came around that a bill had been introduced in Israel that would mandate a charge to customers for every plastic bag taken at the supermarket.

The charge won’t affect every bag given to customers. Bags that contain fish, meat, poultry or fresh produce won’t incur any charge. But aside from that, every plastic bag given to a customer will incur a charge of 1 NIS which will be shown as a separate item on their receipt. The proposal will also subsidize for 6 months the sale of reusable bags, in order to create public awareness of the law.

As we’ve seen before, plastic bags are on the way out – and with good reason. These useless pieces of waste clog up landfill and make their way to rivers and oceans where they choke and kill wildlife. Starting with San Francisco, then Melbourne, China, and even manycountries in Africa, cities and countries are starting to rethink the millions of plastic bags that end up in landfill, all for just seconds of use between your grocery store and your kitchen.

And just to drive the point home- some numbers to ponder:

4 trillion to 5 trillion: Number of nondegradable plastic bags used worldwide annually.

430,000 gallons: Amount of oil needed to produce 100 million nondegradable plastic bags.

+ Ministerial c’tee okays charge of NIS 1 per plastic bag