Your 2020 Worldwide Plastic Bag Ban Update…What a Year It Was!

Your 2020 Worldwide Plastic Bag Ban Update…What a Year It Was!

Big Changes in 2020 with More to Come in 2021!

This year definitely did not go as anyone intended, and the bag ban movement was not exempt from any of the twists and turns 2020 had in store. Despite all of the changes and uncertainty, a lot of progress was made and changes for the better were implemented. You can always learn more about the bag ban movement by following our interactive map of plastic bag bans and fees from around the world.

Today, we’re going over the highlights of the year for bag bans and reviewing the changes brought by 2020.

Safety Concerns

A recurring theme throughout the year was concern about the safety of banning disposable bags.

Many people were worried that COVID would make reusable bags unsafe so we covered what the science says about the safety of reusable bags during covid .

New York Implements Bag Ban

After what could best be described as a soft launch, single-use plastic bags were effectively banned on October 19, 2020.

The state-wide ban was initially scheduled to go into action on March first.

While the ban did technically launch, officials decided to hold off on implementing the ban in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maine Ban Delayed

Several bans intended to launch in 2020 were delayed.

Maine ntended to implement their disposable plastic bag ban in April, but are now planning on a start date in 2021. The ban was delayed partly due to concern about the safety of reusable bags during a pandemic, but also over concern of dedicating resources that are already stretched thin by implementing a big change, like a bag ban.

Although, neighboring Vermont went forward with their plans to begin their disposable plastic bag ban on July 1, 2020.

Big Changes Coming to Garden State

New Jersey is poised to implement one of the most comprehensive bans in the United States.

A ban was almost passed in 2018, only to fail to gain the final approval needed from the Governor.

At the time, the Governor indicated he did not endorse the measure because he felt it was not effective enough at reducing plastic pollution.

This time around, the measure was altered in response to this feedback and was ultimately signed into law in November. Disposable plastic bags will be banned in New Jersey starting in 2022.

Bans Temporarily Overturned

Two states on opposite sides of the country took similar steps, again, in response to the spread of COVID.

California temporarily lifted their state-wide bag ban, while several cities in the Golden State even passed laws banning reusable bags in the early days of the pandemic. California’s state bag ban was reinstated early in the summer.

Massachusetts does not currently have a state-wide bag ban, but efforts to pass a ban at the state level have been underway for several years.

Well over 100 cities and towns have passed bag bans in the Bay State. In April, all bag bans in Massachusetts were overturned due to uncertainty at the spread of COVID-19. By July, the measure was reversed and all local bans were reinstated.

Increased Efforts Throughout North America

In response to increased litter and environmental harm, single-use plastic bags were banned in Mexico City in January 2020. Earlier efforts to reduce the use of disposable plastic failed to work. The ban has been met with mixed reviews, but as habits are formed most residents are adjusting.

Canada still intends to ban plastic bags by the end of 2021. In the meantime, both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Labrador implemented bag bans in October. Several cities in British Columbia are considering bag bans of their own.

England Doubling Down

In 2015, England imposed a fee on single-use plastic bags in an effort to reduce the use of disposable bags.

The fee was 5-pence, and while the fee has been considered effective, earlier this year, officials decided to double the amount of the fee effective in April 2021.

Go Green With Us in the New Year

It’s hard to review anything that happened in 2020 without discussing COVID. While the Coronavirus pandemic definitely had an impact on the bag ban movement, it appears things are now moving forward. Any measures temporarily overturning bag bans have since been lifted and while some bans have been delayed, plans are in place to implement new bans.

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