Recently I read an article over at Thedailygreen.com where I read that China is putting a nationwide ban on free use of plastic bags. It is said that this will reduce the country’s dependency on oil while helping them to cut their emissions down just in time for planning and executing the Beijing Olympics. This is a good thing, even if it is being done for the wrong reasons. I am not saying that it is, but it does seem suspicious that it’s being pushed into place just in time for the Olympics, doesn’t it? I mean, China wants to set a good example. The government wants to show the world it can change. And I say, good for you. I can only hope that America’s need to change would spur such a difference here at home.
Not only is China cutting back on the amount of oil they use (37 million barrels of crude oil on plastic bag production every year), they will be cutting back on the processing and production pollution made while making the bags, and on the overall pollution of their landscape and landfills after the bags have been used. There will still be plastic bags for sale but they will not be given freely as they currently are now. The idea is to make people bring their own reusable shopping bags each time they shop.
I think this sounds feasible here in the States. I think something similar is definitely what we need. A good old kick in the pants to get people to be slightly less environmentally selfish and to get our nation to start actually acting like they care what they are doing to the planet we live on. I mean, I think everyone is aware that there is a problem. But how long can we go on ignoring the signs? Something needs to be done and this could be something that would not be that hard for people to adjust to and very very good for the environment.
Some retailers have already started selling reusable bags in the States, major chains like Walmart and Giant Eagle. Here is a little info about Walmart’s bags from sustainableisgood.com:
The new Wal-Mart shopping bags are made from a fabric containing rPET. The bags are made from 85% recycled content and hold more than twice the amount of an average plastic bag. The bags will sell for $1 and be located near checkout aisles in Wal-Mart stores. Wal-Mart will also take the bags back at the end of their life-span for recycling.
I am not trying to preach here. I just think that most people are not going to do something like this on their own. That if there were laws put in place that put a heavy tax (for example an environmental tax where the money went into environmental sustainability programs/research) on things that are wasteful (insert the plastic bag here) that people would start to actually consider their impact on the planet. And if not, they would still be forced to either be environmentally friendly in a small way or pay a tax for the environment.
I am sure there are all sorts of negative comments people can make about this, that it’s not fair for the government to force this on people and no new taxes and blah blah blah but we need to face reality. And preferably sometime soon.