Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NYC Misses The Mark On Plastic Bags

NYC just passed a plastic bag recycling law that will require stores to have highly visible plastic bag recycling bins in their stores and print a recycling message on the bags themselves.

While I applaud the city for recognizing the problems, I gotta say this is a pretty disappointing response to the problem. By simply asking companies to encourage recycling, they are really accomplishing next to nothing because the people who don't will continue not to and the people who already do will continue to do so. In addition, those few who do start to recycle, will feel as if they have "done their part" when the real way to help is to fore go the bag to begin with. A few years ago, Ireland, finding themselves drowning in bags, imposed a plastic bag tax that eradicated 95% of the bags that were used, and China just outlawed thin bags altogether. Why is it that we in this country find it so hard to ask folks to step up to the plate in a way that will mean something?

Sorry to sound negative about this as I do applaud them for attempting to fix the problem, but if this is the best they can come up with, I fear that it is too little too late. The city of Los Angeles is attempting to deal with the same issue (LA'ers use 5 billion bags a year). Hopefully they'll come up with something a bit more productive.


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