When you head off to the local supermarket this weekend, you might want to grab an extra handful of plastic carrier bags for future use, as while they may be a simple and convenient packaging solution to you and me, there is much surrounding the fate of the plastic bag, and they could soon be gone for good.
Plastic Bag Levies and Bans
In an attempt to reduce our dependence on plastic carrier bags, governments in Wales and Northern Ireland have introduced a 5p levy on all single-use bags, but in other countries across the world, governments are taking it one-step further by pushing for a complete ban. If you manufacture, sell or distribute carrier bags in the Indian city of Mangalore today, you could face a fine of Rs 100, approximately £1.15.
If you violate the carrier bag ban in Brookline, Boston, you can expect to pay $50 for your first offense, and a further $100 if you are caught out a second time, but this plastic bag ban only applies to major retail establishments with annual sales in excess of $1 million, and stores can only be fined once a week – so as long as you keep your turnover less than $999,999, you will be fine (and not fined!).
The Convenience Stores Association and Plastics Industry are fighting back in Toronto, Canada, and have now filed documents with the Ontario Superior Court asking them to quash the proposed “invalid” ban set to come into effect on 1st January 2013.
Carrier Bags saving lives in Scotland
Plastic carrier bags are making the headlines in Scotland too, and while the Scottish government is still “consulting” on a carrier bay levy, retailers in North Lanarkshire are putting this practical shopping staple to good use.
Teaming up with the local police and the Choose Life Campaign (a suicide prevention group), local convenience stores are now using brightly coloured carrier bags with the messages “Spill it” and “Stop bottling it up” for those buying alcohol.
Tackling the link between alcohol and suicide, Choose Life campaigners believe that the carrier bags will encourage people to get out more and talk about how they are feeling.
So stock up on plastic carrier bags this weekend, they may soon be a valuable commodity!