Coupon Sherpa Blog

Bring Your Own Bag: 102 Cities and Countries That Ban or Tax Plastic Bags

Papier ou plastiqu?
Aus Papier oder Kunststof?
??????

The "paper or plastic" mantra once commonly heard at check-out stands around the world is rapidly being replaced with, "Did you BYOB, "Bring Your Own Bag."

As with so many other trends in the U.S., San Francisco started the bag-ban movement, effective April 2007 and translating into 5 million fewer plastic bags being used every month. Bangladesh outlawed the petroleum-based products in 2002, with cities and countries from China to Zanzibar soon following suit.

Our nation's capitol set an example for the rest of the country this month when they began levying a 5-cents surcharge on plastic and paper bags at stores that sell food and/or alcohol. U.S. legislators took note and introduced the Plastic Bag Reduction Act, imposing a five-cent fee on “single-use” bags in larger stores.

Last June -- despite intense push-back from plastic-bag manufacturers -- the United Nations jumped into the fray and called for a global ban on single-use plastic bags, the second most common form of litter after cigarette butts.

The movement is seen as a way to protect the environment, curb global warming and reform a disposable-minded society. The ubiquitous bags are blamed for choking birds and fish, floating into trees, rooftops and streets and sticking around years longer than paper. About 100,000 whales, seals, turtles and other marine animals are killed by plastic bags each year worldwide, according to Planet Ark, an international environmental group. The Chinese call them "white pollution" and they're known derisively in South Africa as the "national flower."

As a result of all this hue and cry, the BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) movement is growing by leaps and bounds. RUBs, or re-usable bags, made from cloth or recycled materials have turned into a major industry. Many stores now take 5-cents off each RUB they pack.

In our ever-continuing effort to keep you informed, Coupon Sherpa has compiled a list of 73 cities and countries that ban or charge a fee for plastic bags.

Plastic Bag Fees

Belgium – Effective July 1, 2007
Denmark – Adopted in 1994
Germany - Adopted in 2003
Hong Kong – Adopted April 2009; Effective July 2009
Irish Republic – Effective March 2002, 15-cents per bag
Israel – Adopted June 2008
Italy – Adopted in 1988; Ban to be introduced in 2010
Netherlands – Effective January 2008
Seattle, Washington – Adopted by city council on July 28, 2008 – Defeated by ballot initiative on August 18th
Toronto, Ontario —Effective June 1, 2009
Washington, D.C. – Adopted June 16, 2009

Plastic Bag Bans

United States
--Alaska – As of 1998, 30 villages and towns have bans
--District of Columbia - Effective January 2010
--Edmonds, WA – Adopted August 2009; Effective August 2010
--Fairfax, Calif. – Passed by voter initiative on November 4, 2008
--Kauai County, Hawaii- Effective 2011
--Malibu, Calif. – Adopted May 2008
--Manhattan Beach, Calif. – Adopted July 1, 2008 – In lawsuit
--Marshall County, Iowa – Effective April 9, 2009
--Maui County, Hawaii - Effective 2011
--North Carolina (Outer Banks) – Adopted June 24, 2009; Effective September 1, 2009
--Oakland, Calif. – Adopted June 29, 2007 – Voluntary ban
--Paia, Maui, Hawaii – Effective 2008
--Palo Alto, Calif. - Adopted March 2009; Effective September 2009
--San Francisco, Calif. – Adopted April 2007
--Suffolk County, New York – Adopted in 1988
--Westport, Connecticut – Adopted September 2, 2008; Effective March 19, 2009
Bangladesh - Effective March 1, 2002
--Dahka - Banned plastic bags in January of 2002
--Bhutan - Adopted June 2006
Botswana - Effective February 1, 2007
Brazil – Effective October 2007
Buenos Aires, Argentina – Effective September 2008
China - Effective June 1, 2008
Coles Bay, Tasmania - Effective April 2003
Egypt (Red Sea Province) – Effective January 1, 2009
Eritrea – Adopted in 2005
France – Phase out completely by 2010
--Corsica – Full ban effective 1999
--Paris – Full ban adopted January 2007
India - In 2002, the Indian government mandated a thickness rule on plastic bags. All bags must be greater than 20 microns in thickness
--Delhi, India – Full ban effective January 2009
--Chandigarh, India – Full ban effective October 2, 2008
--Himachal Pradesh, India - Full ban effective 2003
--Maharashtra, India - Full ban effective August 2005
Italy – Effective 2010. Previously, the country had a plastic bag tax
Karachi, Pakistan - Effective December 2008 Kenya – Adopted in June 2007
Loddon Shire, Victoria (Australia) - Effective December 2005
Macedonia – Effective January 1, 2009
Manitoba, Canada
--Coldwell – Adopted August 12, 2008; Effective October 2008
--Eriksdale – December 9, 2008
--Leaf Rapids - Effective April 2007
Mexico City, Mexico – Adopted March 2009; Effective August 2009
New South Wales (Australia)
--Huskisson – Adopted November 2003
--Kangaroo Valley – Adopted November 2003
--Mogo – Adopted September 2003
Nova Scotia, Canada – Effective fall 2008 (applies to liquor stores only)
Papua New Guinea - Effective December 2004
Quebec, Canada – Effective 2009 (provincial ban applies to liquor stores only)
--Huntingdon – Full ban effective January 2008
--Amqui – Full ban effective Spring 2008
Rwanda - Adopted in 2005
Somalia - Adopted in 2005
Somaliland – Effective March 2005
South Africa - Adopted May 9, 2003
South Australia – Adopted November 2008; Effective May 2009
Spain – Mandatory phase out of 50-percent by end of 2009
Taiwan – Adopted in 2007
Tanzania – Effective October 2006
--Zanzibar – Ban in 2007
Uganda - Effective July 1, 2007
Ulanbaatar, Mongolia – Adopted June 2008
United Kingdom
--Aylsham, England – Effective May 3, 2008
--Banchory, Scotland – Effective January 2008
--Girton, England – Effective January 2008
--Hay-On-Wye, Wales – Effective December 2007
--Hebden Bridge, England – Effective December 2007
--Henfield, England – Effective May 2008
--Kew, England – Effective July 2008
--Llandysilio, Wales – Effective 2007
--Modbury, England – Effective May 1, 2007
--Overton, England – Effective October 2007
--Selkirk, Scotland – Effective April 4, 2008
--Tisbury, England – Effective January 2008

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