PHASE-OUT OF LIGHTWEIGHT PLASTIC BAGS

You can buy plastic bags, which are also called “carrier bags,” at many stores. They’re made from a very thin film of plastic. They are often used to carry goods from stores and markets to their homes. Unfortunately, lightweight plastic bags are a problem all over the world. So, countries around the world have planned for the end of lightweight plastic bags. Overall, these plastic bags have a negative effect on almost every part of the environment.

PLASTIC BAG BAN EFFECTIVENESS

In most parts of the world, the global movement to stop using plastic bags has worked very well. Almost every country in the world agrees with the plan to stop using plastic bags.

PLASTIC BAG BAN EFFECTIVENESS

In most parts of the world, the global movement to stop using plastic bags has worked very well. Almost every country in the world agrees with the plan to stop using plastic bags. (Research from Conservation Law Foundation)

  • Phase-out of plastic bags happens when plastic bags are gradually phased out of production, distribution, and use over time.
  • Environmentalists, government legislators, and the general public realize the harm these bags are causing. Many are trying to reduce their use and production.
  • Each country makes its own rules about how to use plastic bags.
  • Some countries have laws against making lightweight plastic bags. This makes sure the number of bags that are out there is kept to a low level.
  • However, some countries are still having problems when it comes to regulating the use of plastic bags.
  • Despite efforts, there are still a lot of plastic bags that end up in the world’s oceans, and other waters.

METHODS OF PHASING OUT LIGHTWEIGHT PLASTIC BAGS

Each country has its own way of getting rid of plastic bags. Two ways are:

methods of phasing out light weight plastic bags

(i) Laws and Bans

  • Some people can’t use lightweight plastic bags because of a law. When something is banned, people can’t make it, sell it or use it. 
  • Bans can make it illegal to use plastic bags in a certain state or the whole country. 
  • A court may punish people who break the law. The ban on plastic bags in different parts of the world is pushing the phase-out process forward.

(ii) Plastic Bag Charges

  • In some parts of the country, stores must charge a certain amount for single-use plastic bags.
  • They often have to keep track of how many plastic bags they give out to people. This information can help plastic bag manufacturers figure out when to stop making them.
  • When plastic bag charges are put in place, they may only apply to a single state or even the whole country. It will all depend on how bad the problem is, and how long it takes to fix it.

NEGATIVE EFFECT OF PLASTIC BAG BAN

The ban on plastic bags in most parts of the world is good for the environment. However, it has become a problem in some places.

negative effect of plastic bag ban

Plastic Bag Ban Facts:

  • People may switch to using materials that are more harmful to the environment if governments ban plastics. This could make things worse for the environment.
  • Even if people use fewer plastic bags, they cannot solve plastic pollution. This is because plastic bags only make up a small percentage of the world’s plastic pollutants.
  • The ban on the use of plastic bags has an effect on business. Some people have even lost their jobs because of a ban on plastic bags.

WHY ARE PLASTIC BAGS BEING PHASED OUT?

The main reason for the planned ban on lightweight plastic bags is to keep the environment clean. Plastic bags can stay in the environment for a long time because they don’t break down very quickly. (Research from ReuseThisBag.com)

why are plastic bags being phased out
  1. Soil Pollution

  • Plastic bags can harm the quality of the soil in a number of ways. For one thing, they are made of chemicals that can get into the soil and harm the plants.
  • This mostly happens when plastic bags break down in the sun. The contaminants are made by tiny plastic pieces.
  • Tiny plastic pieces can kill soil microbes if they get into the soil. This can make the soil less fertile, which will make it less likely to grow crops.
  1. Water Pollution

  • The world’s oceans are full of plastic bags. Having plastic bags in the ocean is bad for fish and other aquatic animals.
  • Marine animals can get tangled in the bags. When this happens, there is a chance that the animal will starve to death or drown.
  • Most ocean animals mistake plastic bags for food. Sea turtles, fish, and seabirds are the most likely to be harmed. When plastic bags are ingested, they can get stuck in the animal’s digestive system.
  1. Air Pollution

  • The burning of plastic bags in landfills contributes to air pollution. Additionally, the smoke released into the air can be toxic. 
  • Dioxins and mercury are some of the toxic things made when plastic bags are burned. These toxins can harm your health.
  • Plastic bags can also emit carbon dioxide (C O 2) into the air. This is one of the gases that cause the greenhouse effect.

PLASTIC BAG LAWS BY STATE IN THE US

It’s thought that Americans use up to 100 billion plastic bags each year, but it’s hard to be sure. Now that many people understand the harm these bags cause to the environment, several states now have rules to reduce their use.  In some states, a plastic bag tax has been put in place.

Washington 

  • The state of Washington bans some uses of single-use plastic bags in its cities and towns.
  • This state lets people use reusable plastic bags and paper bags. However, the people who use these bags have to pay extra, they are no longer free.

New York 

  • New York has a ban on single-use plastic bags.
  • Stores found using or selling these bags must pay a fine.

Hawaii

  • The state of Hawaii recently banned plastic bags, plastic straws, and plastic utensils.
  • Consumers are, however, allowed to use paper bags after paying a 15 cent fee. The state requires all people to use recyclable materials.

Chicago

  • The state of Chicago implemented a ban on plastic bags but replaced it with a fee.
  • Consumers can buy plastic bags and paper bags by paying a small tax.

California Plastic Bag Law 2020

  • In the United States, California was one of the first states to stop giving out single-use plastic bags. Retailers have to charge at least 10 cents for plastic bags.

In April 2020, because of the pandemic, the state of California temporarily lifted its ban on plastic bags for six months. Since then, the plastic bag law was brought back.

PHASE-OUT OF LIGHTWEIGHT PLASTIC BAGS SHOULD TAKE FULL EFFECT

All countries should agree to stop giving out plastic bags. Plastic bags are slowly choking our planet, which is causing a lot of problems for the environment.

In the ocean, there are a lot of plastic bags that hurt marine life. As the plastic breaks down, it turns into small pieces called microplastics that hurt fish and other aquatic animals. People can get sick if they eat fish that has been contaminated.

Overall, there is a lot of work to be done to replace single-use plastic bags with a more environmentally friendly idea.

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