Should Supermarkets Charge for Plastic Bags?

Joanne Camas


Denver is the latest city to propose measures to slash plastic bag use. The city is considering a 5-cent charge per bag in an effort to reduce landfill waste by 20 percent.

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Portland, Oregon, has outright banned plastic bags. The city allows paper bags at checkouts, but shoppers are asked to bring reusable bags when possible. "Plastic grocery and shopping bags may offer short-term convenience, but they have long-term costs. Not only do single-use bags require resources such as petroleum and natural gas to manufacture, their disposal presents a number of problems as well," city leaders say.

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They add, "These flyaway bags litter our parks and trees, enter storm drains and can eventually end up in rivers and oceans where they break into small, toxic pieces." With 1 billion plastic bags used every year in NYC alone, according to the Bag It documentary, there's certainly reason to look at alternatives, and reusable bags are an easy eco-friendly option. Has your city made an effort to curb plastic bag use? How has it gone about it?

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