The causes and effects of global warming have gained a great deal of attention and concern worldwide. Countries all over the world have joined forces to advocate for greener living and to combat environmental depletion. One of their projects has focused on the use of plastic bags.
Plastic bags are popular with retailers and consumers because they are lightweight, cheap, tough and functional. However, there convenience is outweighed by the devastating effects plastic bags have on the environment.
The reduction of plastic bag use began in Bangladesh in March 2002. Its government banned the use of polyethylene plastic bags in the capital city, Dhaka, after discovering that it was the primary cause of the floods that immerse 2/3 of the country in 1988 and 1998. Sustainable and biodegradable alternatives were created and the jute bag industry was revived. Months and years later, European countries, Africa, China, USA, India and New Zealand followed. Most of the countries simply banned the use of plastic bags while New Zealand implemented a more sustainable and feasible approach.
In March 2009, New Zealand introduced the concept of retailer levy to reduce the annual use of one billion supermarket plastic bags. This was widely accepted by retailers like The Warehouse, Bunnings and Borders. They even set a goal of reducing it by 25% by mid 2009. 10cents of levy was introduced to retailers and within a year, some reported an 80% reduction in plastic bag use. Through time, people continue to advocate and abide by this program. New Zealand’s major supermarkets like Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises were encouraged to lead in this plastic bag campaign. It’s not only the environment who benefited through this project. The money collected from the levies was donated to community groups.
These anti-plastic bag use policies have persuaded consumers and retailers alike to eliminate the use of plastic bags and utilize the alternatives. Practically speaking, this action has brought humanity more benefit than loss. Through it, we are taught how to recycle, to save money and resources, to be resourceful and creative and most importantly to protect and value our environment.