What Are The Results From China’s 2008 Ban Against Free Plastic Bags?

Only in China could a free plastic bag ban be so easily enacted. As posted in Good and later in Treehugger, China passed a law in 2008 making it illegal for stores to give out free plastic bags. They can only sell them at a price higher than the bags cost and store owners could pocket the difference.

The results? According to a Hoaran He, a researcher from the University of Gothernburg, the ban against free plastic bags has reduced China’s consumption by 40% or the equivalent of 40 billion plastic bags. That’s a huge number and hard to verify. Nevertheless, I’m sure the law reduced plastic bag consumption in China by a number in the billions and that is significant.

What’s more amazing to me is how quickly China’s government can act without the interference of lobbyist and special interest groups pushing them and buying them to vote another way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure corruption is rampant in China, but their ability to act and respond to a problem and develop a nationwide resolution is something to marvel at. It’s no wonder a recent report by Ernst Young stated that China has a clear lead in the pursuit of renewable energy.

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