Tag Archives: Plastic bag

Europe may soon launch wide-ranging solutions to plastic pollution

Taking on the enormous problem of plastic pollution in the ocean, the European Union is on track to ban single-use items made of plastic, while communities in Washington state slowly adopt bans on plastic bags.

Straws are listed as a problem plastic.
Photo: Horia Varlan, Wikimedia Commons

The European Commission is targeting specific plastic products that constitute 70 percent of the items found among marine debris lost in the sea and along the shoreline. Cotton swabs, plastic cutlery, plates, drinking cups and straws are among the items that would be banned outright, because non-plastic alternatives are available.

The proposal announced this week goes well beyond those items, however, calling for a 90-percent reduction in plastic drink-bottle waste, possibly through a deposit system. In addition, plans are underway for new waste-disposal programs, ongoing cleanups, and educational efforts designed to reduce the purchase of and encourage the proper disposal of food containers, plastic wrappers, cigarette butts, wet wipes, balloons and fishing gear. Manufacturers of plastic products would help fund those various programs, according to the proposal.

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Amusing Monday: Migration of the plastic bag

As the California Assembly faces a showdown over a proposed ban on plastic bags throughout the state, the environmental group Heal the Bay has released a humorous “mockumentary” about the wayward life of a creature that has the uncanny ability to travel across land, water and air.

This short video is narrated by Academy-Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons. Its release comes as the deadline approaches for the California Assembly to take action on the bag-ban bill, AB 1998. A vote is expected by the end of the month.

The California bill would ban plastic bags except for those needed for sanitary purposes, such as meat. For details about the bill and about various efforts by opposing sides of the debate, check out Friday’s story in the Ventura County Star by reporter Timm Herdt.

For a nationwide perspective, see the Aug. 15 story in the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader by Ali Eaves, who mentions Seattle’s experience with a proposed bag fee: In 2008, the city council passed a ban, which was later overturned by referendum.