“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.”
Via my sister, Christine:
I was living in Ireland in 2002, and I can attest: It literally was within weeks that plastic bags disappeared from the cityscapes. Then, it was only a 5-cent charge per bag. It really was a beautiful and inspiring thing to witness.
Tiff and I stopped using them a few months back and switched to canvas. I don’t know anyone who made this switch and regretted it: in addition to the environmental benefits, you can just carry so much more in canvas, and much more comfortably.
The hard part is remembering to bring the canvas bags with you, but we devised a pretty good system for that, too: whenever we forgot to bring them, we had to buy more. So now we have about 8 of them and have gotten pretty good at remembering to bring a few with us. (Tip: keep them in the car.)