The plastic bag tax, a small charge that supermarket customers pay per plastic bag used to carry their groceries, are used as a means of encouraging consumers to reduce their use of plastic bags and rely more on reusable bags. In Ireland, the first country to impose the tax, consumption of plastic bags dropped an astounding 90%, which in turn greatly reduced litter and saved about 18,000,000 liters of oil annually. To date, there are 11 countries and cities around the world (including Washington DC and Seattle) that have imposed a plastic bag tax. In most countries, the revenue earned from the tax is put towards eco friendly projects. Incredibly, even more countries and cities (again, several in the US) have issued bans on plastic bags; and in countries where the governments haven’t taken any action, retailers have started charging for bags themselves.
Plastic bags use oil to make and cost stores to purchase. In addition, plastic bags pile up in landfills, commonly after only one use, and can take over 1,000 years to break down. Companies like Target give you 5 cents back on every purchase if you bring a green bag because they have been saving so much money on bags since people have been bringing their own. I have green bags that have lasted over a year, so they are much more effective than plastic bags that can get weak and tear after a few uses. Some countries just aren’t finding them to be worth the cost. Some people in Austin, TX are currently working to make a plastic bag ban.
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