China Gets Ready to Ban Ultra-Thin Plastic Bags

Story here. Good for them. Hope they can make it stick.

Interesting and good for them. May be tough though. Those would be the sort that we use for bagging produce at the grocery store, I guess, and I must admit that’ll be a logistical problem for many items. I mean, if you’re loading up on something that’s small / loose, like, say, green beans, it’s hard to see what the alternative might be.

They did a similar thing in Ireland, though obviously not as draconian as the Chinese policy, by adding a token environmental tax to every plastic bag of 15c. It reduced usage by 90%.

When I was in Tibet, some of the Himalayan foothills were absolutely covered with a slick of these damn things. Good riddance.

So will they be producing lead bags now?

People will still use bags, they’ll just be the thicker ones. Thicker ones will use more oil. This is not well thought out.

Now 22c. It’s a good idea, people use canvas bags and harder plastic ones that they reuse again and again. Only downside I see is that for heavy goods paper bags aren’t adequate. People refuse to pay the charge then their paper bags break and their stuff spills all over the street.

I do miss the rivers full of plastic bags you used to see. Now if they only ban shopping trolleys the fish might have a chance to thrive.

You can reuse thicker ones more often than thin ones.

Are you kidding? Of course it’ll stick. They don’t have inconveniences like democracy and free speech to deal with.

Customers won’t be taking them back in and using them again in the produce section. You end up with just as many used and they used more oil to make the extra plastic. They need to use a different method to lesson plastic use other than banning thin plastic. One other thing is produce bags get full of juice from grapes and the like, so nobody is going to reuse produce bags for a lot of produce. Thiner bags is most certainly the best type for a contaminated bag.

In what way does a 90% reduction equal “just as many used”?

You yourself made the statement it was a tax, not because of banning thin plastic bags.

Hello? Cellophane?

A punitive tax is not all that different - in effect - from an outright ban though, is it?

A big problem with the ultra-thin bags is that nobody believes they’ll be able to withstand as much as 5lb worth of weight, so people will double or triple up. Plus if you’re walking with those and there is any kind of weight, they cut into your fingers (not literally, but my blood pressure is bad enough without extra help) a lot more than a thicker bag.

Reusable bags (even those of normal thickness) and shopping carts don’t cut into your hands. Many people in Spain don’t ever buy garbage bags, we just use those supermarket bags which are soiled from produce. From what I’ve seen in Glasgow, that’s common there as well. It definitely was common in France, and forbidden in Basel (you have to buy special trash bags there).

Yes it is. Having to pay for each bag brings out the penny pincher in people. Banning just makes them bitch at the employees to get them plastic bags for the produce. I don’t use plastic bags for a couple apples or oranges. Many people do. One apple gets a bag. One orange gets a bag. One pepper gets a bag.

They need to require deposits or tax on all plastic bottles worse than any other container I can think of. Aluminum cans recycle for enough money that people will collect any that somebody else throws away without a deposit, plastic and glass doesn’t.

I was one of the only people in the neighborhood recycling, until it was mandatory by law. The others only did it when their garbage wasn’t being collected. I even got told I was stupid to waste my time recycling, I had one bag of garbage to pick up. They had 4 bags to pick up. Often I would go almost the whole month before putting out one bag.

I see what you’re saying.

There is a bit of a difference in your perception of plastic bag use, though, and how it is in China. Plastic bags are the main shopping bag type - they don’t use paper ones. They’re the large bags people carry home from the store with all their stuff in. People don’t tend to single-bag individual fruit items, either.

I theorise that the effect may be the same: the higher cost of bags this will cause the retailers to have to start charging for them, and then consumers will start to re-use them. Alternatively, they’ll just raise the price of commodities across the board.