Hawaii is known for stunning natural beauty and this environment is very much tied in to the culture and the day-to-day life of those who call the island chain home. This makes unsightly litter all the more unsettling. To help protect the beauty and integrity of their home and to do right by the environment the Hawaii County Council approved a bill to ban plastic bags on the Big Island. The bill barely passed with the 5 minimum votes needed to get the measure in front of the mayor, Billy Kenoi, who in turn waited till the last day possible to sign the bill into law. The bill is similar to bans passed in Kauai and Maui counties and the first phase will go into effect on January 17, 2013.
Washington State is quickly becoming a hotbed for plastic bag bans. The City of Mukilteo, which is about 30 miles north of Seattle, recently passed ordinance number 1294, also known as the Solid Waste and Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance. The City Council voted in the ordinance with a strong 7-0 vote and starting January 1, 2013 retail establishments in Mukilteo will not be able to give customers plastic disposable bags.
It is well known by now that San Francisco was one of the first cities in North America to ban plastic bags. The initial law that went into action in 2007 banned plastic disposable bags from being distributed in large grocery stores and chain pharmacies. The reasoning was ground breaking back in 2007 since the notion of banning plastic bags was still in its infancy, but it was simple enough: plastic bags are not biodegradable so when they are tossed in landfills they just take up space. Furthermore, disposable bags wreak havoc on the ocean, wildlife and their habitats, they clog sewer systems and storm drains, and they have a tendency to end up as litter.
Many stores have decided to make an impact and charge for disposable bags or ban plastic bags altogether. Many of these policies are in response to environmental issues or the increasing number of bans being implemented across the country. Whatever the reason, when stores charge a fee or ban disposable bags the purpose is to encourage the use of sustainable eco-friendly bags.
There is no denying the many merits of reusable bags, from the environmental impact to the cost savings for both the stores that supply disposable bags and the municipalities that pick up litter. Reusable shopping bags definitely are a step in the right direction on many fronts, but they require some care and attention. If not properly cared for reusable bags can possibly nurture and spread bacteria. A few studies have been done on the issue and while the amounts of bacteria found were minimal, exposure is all it takes to become ill. Remember to bring your bags
In an unprecedented turn of events, Sioux Lookout, in Ontario, Canada has rescinded the bag ban put into place in September 2010. A town bylaw implemented the ban on single use plastic bags which were not to be sold or given away within the town. The plan was structured with a 1 year phase-in period to allow residents to get use to an existence free of disposable bags. During the phase-in period warnings were issued to anyone violating the law, but after that period fines would be charged to those selling or giving away disposable plastic bags.
Students from the small New York state town of Sleepy Hollow have some big plans. A group of middle school students in the Environmental Action Club have started a grassroots campaign to ban plastic bags in their hometown. They got the idea from the neighboring city of Rye which recently put a bag ban in place and from the movie ‘Bag It,’ a documentary about the environmental effect of plastic bags. Their efforts have attracted the attention of the mayor, Drew Fixell, who paid the club a visit to discuss the pros and cons of such a ban and what
Plastic bags have come under fire lately, as they should. Resources are drained to create these bags and only a small percentage ends up being recycled, leaving the rest to either sit in landfills or litter streets, parks, and wildlife habitats. To put an end to the environmental and financial havoc plastic bags wreck on the world many cities have taken to banning plastic bags to encourage the use of reusable shopping bags. Many such bans include a section concerning paper bags. A typical ban consists of a straight out prohibition of plastic bags, but allows paper bags to be
Over the last several years cities across the United States have contemplated and/or put bans on plastic bags into motion. Those who support the bans cite the environmental impacts. Plastic bags cannot safely break down; they sit in landfills because even though most are recyclable people just do not properly dispose of them. Some supporters lean on the health issues at stake: bags that sit in landfills take up space and collect rain water, which creates ideal conditions for mosquitos to lay eggs. Mosquitos can carry harmful and deadly diseases, such as West Nile, malaria, and dengue. Banning bags is intended to start off a chain reaction.
There is seldom a one-size-fits all solution to big problems, and the folks of Madison, Wisconsin are proving that point. As cities all across the United States are banning plastic disposable bag in hopes of reducing litter and preventing these non-biodegradable nuisances from taking up space in garbage dumps, Madison decided to step up efforts to recycle plastic bags. In 2009 Madison began a plastic bag recycling program. Drop-off locations were setup throughout the area and residents could simply deposit their plastic bags.