Countries that have banned single-use plastic bags

Countries that have banned

single-use plastic bags

By Eurico Borges

One and a half billion plastic bags are used every day globally.

A shocking statistic indeed. This plastic bag that is bought and used only once, then discarded immediately, takes more than 450 years to decompose. And methane gas, released by plastic bag’s degradation, contributes about 20 times more to the greenhouse effect than the CO2 generated in aerobic biodegradation.

 

Even though only 4% of all black oil is used to produce single-use plastic bags, a complex refining and extracting process must carry out its production, practices that excessively pollute the environment.

The market sector that uses the most significant amount of plastic products is packaging, which manufactures products for immediate disposal. After a short initial use cycle, 95% of plastic packaging, equivalent to between $80 to $120 billion annually, is lost to the economy. That is because after the product is taken out of the package, it becomes virtually worthless.

For more than 50 years, global plastic production has been steadily increasing, with an average rate of 4% in the past ten years alone. However, recovery and recycling remain insufficient, as millions of tons end up in landfills, garbage dumps, and oceans each year.

Between 22% and 43% of plastic used worldwide is disposed of in landfills, where its resources are wasted. The polluting material takes up valuable space and harms communities. Recovering plastic from the waste stream for recycling or combustion for power generation can minimize these problems.

In addition to the fact that only 9% of the 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic produced between 1950 and 2015 were recycled, many of the plastic products manufactured today are not recyclable.

However, many plastics collected for recycling are sent to countries with lower environmental regulations. And burning plastic for energy requires atmospheric emission controls and produces hazardous ash, all of which are relatively inefficient.

As the world slowly awakens to the scale of the plastic pollution problem, an increasing number of countries and cities have introduced bans on certain products. Not only can the measures help stop plastics from polluting marine ecosystems, but they also challenge the myth that we can get rid of the problem through recycling.

Check out these Countries that have banned single-use plastic bags.

Bangladesh

The first ban on plastic bags happened 19 years ago in Bangladesh. The measure to prohibit its manufacture and distribution was taken after a very violent flood occurred in 1988, decimating two-thirds of its population.

The bags were blamed for the tragedy of clogging the maintenance holes. Until then, the capital Dhaka discarded an average of 9.3 million plastic bags every day! Today the region is a super reference in the production of eco-bags around the world.

Kenya

One of the most radical legislation in the world when it comes to plastic bags in Kenya, which was approved in August 2017.

In the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, up to 20 bags were found in the stomach of a single cow. Nowadays, the production, use, and sale of bags can be grounds for imprisonment or the imposition of a fine of up to 40,000 dollars.

Rwanda

Rwanda has banned any type of plastic bags since 2008 due to the high pollution generated by them both in city streets and rivers, harming agricultural activity in the region.

Today Rwanda is one of the cleanest countries on the continent.

Mauritania

In northwest Africa, Mauritania also banned the sale of plastic bags across the country eight years ago.

In 2012, 70% of the deaths of animals such as cattle and sheep were due to plastic ingestion. The preservation of animals justified the ban.

India

Some Indian cities have also established a ban on distributing or selling plastic bags since 2010.

Like Mauritania, India decided to think about the ingestion of plastics by animals, especially by cows, sacred animals in the region.

China

Similarly, on the Asian continent, China banned the bags in 2008.

In 2012, government reports revealed that the decision generated savings of 4.8 million tonnes of oil during the four years of the ban and the non-production of 800,000 tonnes of plastic.

Vanuatu

The tiny island in the Pacific Ocean imposed a strict ban on plastic bags, straws, and polystyrene containers in July 2018.

It was later expanded to include plastic plates, silverware, cups, and food containers. Vanuatu has become the world’s first country to ban disposable diapers.

Italy

In Europe, there are also several government initiatives to ban plastic bags.

Italy was the first country on the continent to ban it once and for all since 2011 and was also the biggest consumer of bags: 20 billion a year. Biodegradable bags have only been distributed on Italian territory for a decade.

France

France is the most iconic of the European countries, as it decided to ban small bags, disposable cutlery, plates, and cups.

Since 2016 bags cannot circulate in French establishments.

Why We Need to Stop Using Plastic Bags

In June 2017, the UN held a Conference on the Oceans in New York to support the project to conserve, preserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources, called “Sustainable Development Goal 14”.

It presented a documentary that shows the main risks that plastic poses to the environment and the planet. According to the documentary, by 2050, plastic production is expected to triple, contributing to the oceans having more plastics than fish. It is also estimated that about 90% of seabirds will have ingested plastic, harming the evolution and survival of marine life.

Plastic bags are not biodegradable or recyclable. Therefore, billions of plastic bags are taken to landfills each year. Plastic bags come to our beaches and oceans, posing a severe danger to marine animals, leading to many deaths.

 

Biodegradable Bags are the Way Forward

Sustainability is an increasingly appreciated trend, whether for personal use or in the corporate environment. Custom returnable bags are one way to reduce the consumption of plastic bags and make a difference on the planet.

While one person can use more than one thousand plastic bags in 5 years, an eco-bag is reusable and can last the same number of years. Furthermore, ecological bags can hold over 20% more weight.

Plastic bags are not biodegradable or recyclable. Therefore, billions of plastic bags are taken to landfills each year. Plastic bags come to our beaches and oceans, posing a severe danger to marine animals, leading to many deaths.

Biodegradable bags are also recyclable and can be manufactured from recycled plastics. And even after being discarded, they can be destined for composting, producing water, carbon dioxide, and biomass, an excellent fertilizer for the soil.

However, the biodegradation and composting of the plastic material will occur correctly when these bags are destined for composting plants. In these plants, temperature, humidity, and light conditions are adequate, and there are enough microorganisms for degradation to occur.

Seventy-seven countries in the world have laws in place against plastic bags. 32 European countries have legislation such as a tax to limit plastic bag use, making it the continent in the lead to outlawing single plastic bag use.

Banning all non-compostable plastic bags, limiting the production and import of plastic bags, and making buyers pay for their plastic bags are other common regulations developed by countries to reduce plastic production. However, there is still a lot to be done to keep our oceans clean of this hazard.

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