, ,

A state in the northern part of India has outlawed the use of plastic bags. Not outlawed them in the sense that you’d get a ten dollar fine for being caught with one. Oh no. Outlawed them like you get seven years in jail or a $2,000 fine for being caught with one. Word!

But Ireland has achieved basically the same results without such draconian measures.

In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them for their purchases must pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of those parts.

Within weeks, plastic-bag use dropped by 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable – on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog.

Now that’s the way to get results.

photo courtesy of the San Diego Union-Tribune