Getting rid of plastic shopping bags

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When in Nice on holidays, I gladly paid 5 cents at the Monaco Carrefour for a plastic shopping bag. Upon researching the topic, there are apparently between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags used every year by consumers worldwide. I am glad to see that San Francisco has recently actually outlawed plastic bags. They claim that this move will reduce oil consumption by 800,000 gallons a year. Wow. Imagine if the entire US followed suit. Aside from the fouling of cityscapes (trees) and clogging up landfills, plastic bags are an expense for companies (“price of doing business) without providing much good(will) advertising. However, swapping plastic for paper bags is not the answer. People should be encouraged/forced to bring their own reusable bags. Plastic bags are basically bad for economics, much less ecology. When we bring home a plastic bag, we systematically re-use the plastic bags in our kitchen poubelle (garbage). But that is truly not enough. Paying for plastic bags is a minimum. If a country such as Taiwan is doing so (also Ireland), then surely this should be more commonplace in the US and Europe. Plastic bags are banned in South Africa, Rwanda, Bhutan and Bangladesh (because of blocking drains during flooding). Paris is banning plastic bags by the end of 2007 with the rest of France in 2010. The US should follow the French example.

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