29 Nov 2010:
Chinese Ban on Free Plastic Bags
Has Cut Consumer Use in Half, Study Says
Use of plastic shopping bags in China has dropped 50 percent
since the government required stores to charge customers for the bags, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden conducted surveys that found that consumers in Beijing and Guiyang used an average of 21 new plastic bags weekly before the bag-fee ordinance was passed in June, 2008, and rarely used the same bag twice. But after the law was imposed, consumption dropped 49 percent and nearly half of the bags were re-used. While that represents a significant reduction, researchers say there is much room for improvement, especially when it comes to enforcement. Months after the law was enacted, the researchers say, nearly 60 percent of all plastic bags were still given away free. “What’s most important is to make sure that the ordinance is complied with,” said Haoran He, the lead researcher. Similar ordinances have achieved major success elsewhere, including Ireland, where the average consumer now uses only 20 plastic bags each year compared to 330 bags annually when the bags were free.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.