Hawaii bans plastic bags; could your state be next?


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The question of paper or plastic no longer exists in Hawaii.  The paradise of the pacific recently became the first U.S. state to ban plastic bags, but it likely won’t be the last.

The so-called war on plastic bags is old news for much of the world. The French island of Corsica banned all non-biodegradable plastic bags back in 1999, and France as a whole attempted to follow suit in 2010 banning all non-biodegradable plastic from all major supermarkets. Today, there are too many countries and cities to count with some sort of ban on plastic bags, but an estimated 500 to 1 trillion plastic bags, 380 billion in the U.S. alone, are still used every year. Americans throw away about 100 billion bags after their first use, the equivalent of dumping 12 million barrels of oil.

Since 2009, legislators in 12 states have introduced bans on plastic bags. Currently, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Washington have bills in their respective state houses that would ban plastic bags, put a tax on them or require mandatory recycling.

The laws however, have proven difficult to pass on a statewide level. Hawaii’s only worked because each city passed a ban. In Connecticut a bill banning or restricting plastic bags has been introduced for the past three years and each year the bill was rejected, but some Connecticut towns have been able to get their own bans passed.

It’s looking like municipalities will be the ones asking the voters paper or plastic.