Fees on Plastic Bags in China Drops Use by 49 Percent

5 Dec

Back in 2008, residents of China normally obtained 21 new plastic bags on a weekly basis, and rarely would use the same bag more than once. Then, the government stepped in. They forced shopkeepers to use more durable bags, and charged a fixed rate for plastic bags. The Chinese reacted favorably to the ban, at the time.

“If we can reduce waste and save resources, then it’s good both for us and the whole world,” said college student Xu Lixian, who was buying tangerines out of cardboard boxes at a sidewalk stall.

“While plastic shopping bags provide convenience to consumers, this has caused a serious waste of energy and resources and environmental pollution because of excessive usage, inadequate recycling and other reasons,” the State Council in the Chinese government said.

Now, the decision is bearing fruit. Just two years after the changes, bag consumption is already down 49 percent and more than half of them are being reused.

Is the Chinese model one for the United States, where more than 100 billion bags are thrown out ANNUALLY?

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