This summer, California legislators considered a statewide ban on plastic bags. Ultimately it failed due to strong opposition pressure–and spending–in the state Senate. But the campaign supporting AB 1998 prompted some great creative tactics, like this video from Heal the Bay. It’s narrated by Jeremy Irons, and tells the tale of one forlorn plastic bag’s journey from store to sea:
Members of the alliance are hoping to see legislation passed next year that would create a fee on single-use plastic and paper shopping bags. But what is it?
The legislation puts a new focus on reducing the amount of trash that enters Maryland’s waterways and bolsters a fund dedicated to the cleanup and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. The legislation represents a unique attempt to work with business and environmental leaders to develop a shared strategy to reduce the amount of trash in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal waterways.
How the Initiative Works
Community Education and Outreach
How the Fee Would Be Used
Where Has This Been Tried Before
On average, a disposable bag has a useful life of 12 minutes, from the store to your home, to the trash. Nationwide fewer than 5% of single-use plastic bags are recycled, leading to the ubiquitous “plastic tumbleweed” that chokes sewer systems, farm equipment, and marine life.
According to a recent study, single-use plastic bags comprise as much as 50% of the trash littering streams in the suburbs of Washington, DC, and their effects downstream are widely reported.
This year Washington, DC, became the first city in the nation to charge 5 cents for single-use plastic and paper bags, in an effort to cut down on the volume of bags littering local waterways. The fee also generates the Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Fund, which will pay for additional trash-control measures as well as free reusable bags for those in need. In mere weeks, the city saw bag use drop by as much as 80%. Volunteers at river cleanups are reporting as many as 50% fewer bags collected.