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Italy Bans Polyethylene Bags

plastic bagsWhat a way to start off the New Year. Starting January 1, Italy will ban the use of polyethylene plastic bags by retailers. According to Italian critics, “polyethylene bags use too much oil to produce, take too long to break down, clog drains and easily spread to become eyesores and environmental hazards.”

Italians use approximately 20 billion bags per year — roughly 330 per person — a number that accounts for nearly 1/5 of plastic bag-use in Europe.

Starting on Saturday, retailers will still be able to give out plastic bags — they just can’t be polyethylene. Biodegradable plastic, cloth or paper are acceptable materials. Other European countries have tried voluntary schemes to cut plastic bag use, like promoting reusable cotton bags. In 2002 Ireland imposed a levy on bags of 15 euro cents (20 U.S. cents) that cut use by a startling 90 percent within a week.

According to Legambiente scientific chief Stefano Ciafani, this shift is merely an extension of a “revolution that is already under way.” Two hundred municipalities out of Italy’s 8,000 have introduced their own plastic bag bans, and many supermarket chains have started using biodegradable bags for shoppers even if not on a nationwide basis, he added.

What do you think of this new ban?

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Posted on: Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Posted in: poly bags

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