Do bans against plastic bags and plastic waste actually work? Many places have already begun plastic bag bans/ fees with some of the largest cities being Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Other cities have also started charging fees for those who would still like to use plastic bags. Some states, such as California, have started recycling programs for plastic bags as well as encouraging users to “Return to a Participating Store for Recycling”. As of 2017, 32 countries have banned plastic bags.
According to reusethisbag.com, “160,000 bags are used every second,” globally. Of these 160,000, approximately 1-3% are recycled. In a year, 500 billion plastic bags are used. “That’s 150 bags per person, per year, for every single person on Earth — or enough to circle the globe 4,200 times,”(reusethisbag.com). By banning plastic bags in 2012, San Jose, California saw a 60% decrease in creeks and rivers. They also saw an 89% reduction of plastic bags in storm drains. Seattle banned plastic bags in 2012 and by 2017, there was a 76% decrease in commercial plastic bag waste. There are many other places that have bans but as of June 2019 only California, Hawaii, and New York have banned plastic bags statewide.
These examples show some of the positive effects of the bans placed. Since these bans have started there have been decreases in plastic bag waste and the presence of bags in storm drains or waterways. There has been an increase in recycling programs and regulations for plastic bags as well.
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