This seems like a sensible plan to dramatically reduce plastic bag use.
In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of these parts.
Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable — on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog.
I have always felt that gentle persuasion is not enough to get people to stop using plastic grocery bags. I am the worst offender. We have plenty recyclable bags and I even have them in the car, but I am lazy. Retailers here make it easy in the sense that they are readily available when you check out, but you have to pay, a powerful disincentive. Punishing lazy behaviour with a charge for plastic bags would change behaviour very quickly here. When the South Australian Government introduced incentives to stop using them, the most successful were the retailers who charged for plastic bags. They probably cut their use by a similar amount to that of Ireland.
Thanks The New York Times