November 12, 2008

The Exploding Plastic Inevitable

I see that Mayor Bloomberg, trying to divert attention from his recent power grab, is proposing a new NYC law that will require shoppers to pay a 6 cent tax on every plastic bag.

This tax really works. The Chinese government passed their own version earlier this year. The first week after it went into effect, I was in line behind a man buying exactly three items. In the past, it would not have been unusual to see him walk out of the store with three separate bags. When asked if he wanted a bag, the man responded yes. When informed that he had to pay 2 mao per bag (the equivalent of 3 US cents), he decided he could manage all right without one after all.

Since the law was passed, this scenario has repeated itself in front of me a number of times. Cloth bags can be found everywhere. It is true that some people still want bags, and they ask for them as if to show that they are above such petty money concerns. But many more people are refusing to pay for bags, and bring their own with them to the grocery store.

My own shopping habits have changed as well. I used to be more likely to take plastic bags, which I would use as trash liners. Now I only take a bag if absolutely necessary (for something liquid that will leak in my backpack). Now I reuse food bags and containers to put trash in.

Every community should pass such a law. Place a higher price on something that is a problem for society and the environment, yet which does not cause any undue hardship when you remove it.

What a fantastic idea!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now if they only decided to tax carbon emissions...