China's Plastic Bags

Are you sitting down? Really. Before you hear what I eventually tell you, you are going to want to sit down.

I received a free copy of the Earth Island Journal. There is not a single article that I haven't or don't want to read. The journal is all about food and farming, the ocean and environment, people doing good stuff and crappy, what-the-hell kind of stuff.

One short article wiped out my appetite; knocked out my breath. I'd heard it on the radio in January but was half asleep and didn't trust my hearing. Seeing the facts in print has made them real. The original article is from Reuters, 1/9.

China's population of 1.3 billion people uses up to 3 billion plastic bags a day. You read it right. Three billion plastic bags a day.

Take a breath. There is good news.

As of June 1, China will be following San Francisco's lead and prohibit supermarkets and shops from providing customers with free plastic bags. Yeah, China!

There are however 58 days left until June 1 at 3 billion bags per day. That would be 174 billions bags used before the ban takes affect.

I could be generous as the article says, up to and not exactly 3 billion per day. If they use a third less the number would be 116 billion bags used before the ban takes affect.

That doesn't really help though, does it?


Green Bean said...

It's a pretty overwhelming statistic, isn't it? At least it is going to be coming to an end. Any clue what the number of bags used in the US are? My guess is we're holding our own and, unfortunately, it isn't being outlawed as in China. On a positive note though, I will say I see more and more reusable bags being used everywhere I go. A step in the right direction at least.

Kale for Sale said...

I was wondering about the US number too. I found this article on Salon which says the US throws out 100 billion plastic bags a year.

San Francisco does have a ban and our little town next door, Fairfax, tried to ban them but the plastic industry threatened to sue the city and they backed down. And Paris and London have passed bans similar to SF. Change is happening.

Green Bean said...

That's a lot of bags!

Have you seen Life Less Plastic's post today. It seems that Ikea will be banning plastic bags effective October because after they started charged $.05 a bag, 92% of consumers stopped using them. Maybe the market really does work! Now if we can only get more stores to follow suit.

Kale for Sale said...

green bean - That's a great post at Life Less Plastic. I hadn't been there before but will certainly return. Thank you.