General References

City of Seattle

Seattle City proposed legislation
from the Seattle City Council website
as of July 24, 2008
Proposal to Tax Disposable Shopping Bags
Proposal to Ban Styrofoam Containers

Seattle’s proposed plastic tax and polystyrene ban have some unique features: The tax proposal is the only one we have seen that includes paper bags. This is designed to avoid the simple switch to the much costlier paper substitute. (Paper bags cost almost 10 times as much to produce than do the disposable plastic bags). The lack of this feature certainly added to the concerns of legislators in Scotland who killed their version of a plastic bag tax. This feature, however, will steer us to polypropylene bags as substitutes. These may prove just as much, if not even more, environmentally problematic than the disposable grocery bags. Furthermore, all sorts of stores and plastic bags are exempt from the tax, potentially reducing its intended effectiveness.

The proposed polystyrene food container ban applies to all restaurants and institutional food services. In Portland, the ban does not apply to schools and institutions and is therefore a bit less strict.

Alternatives to Disposable Shopping Bags and Food Service Items
Prepared by Herrera Environmental Consultants, Inc.
for Seattle Public Utilities
January 2008
Volume I
Volume II

The “The Herrera Report” is the study, commissioned by the city, to look at the plastax and polystyrene ban issues. Herrera is a very reputable local engineering firm. The study however, appears to have been grossly under-funded at $50,000. A robust study like this could cost as much as $300,000 to do carefully. While it is doubtful that the numbers are very accurate, it is the only attempt at cost benefit analysis for the Seattle proposal. Pay especially close attention to the tables, as they contain the crux of the analysis including costs and environmental impacts.

Note that there are no Seattle litter studies. Something called a “litter” analysis for Seattle does exist (we cite it elsewhere), but what it actually analyzes is what Seattle Recycling found in public trash cans, not what they found littered throughout the city. We find this report’s omission of an honest look at the impact of plastic bag and polystyrene litter in Seattle to be a grave error. If the rest of the world littered as little as Seattleites do, the plastic bag litter problems we see elsewhere in the world likely would not exist.

Ordinance on the Disposable Bag Fee and Styrofoam (EPS) Ban
from the City Clerk's Office as of August 14, 2008
Disposable Bags:
Ordinance No. 122752, Council Bill No. 116251

Syrofoam Containers:
Ordinance No. 122751, Council Bill No. 116250

These are the two ordinances currently in question. They were passed on July 28, 2008 and were signed by the mayor on July 30, 2008.


Seattle voters don't buy shopping-bag charge from the Seattle Times, August 19, 2009
Seattle voters rejected a 20 cent fee on disposable bags in grocery, drug and convenience stores. If approved, the legislation, would have placed Seattle as the only city in the world to tax both paper and plastic. The tax was defeated 58% to 42%, thereby overturning the City Council's decision to implement a bag fee last year.

“City of Seattle Disposable Shopping Bags Green Fee and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam Food Container Ban FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ),” April 2, 2008, Seattle Public Utilities (accessed June 3-6, 2008).
Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Climate Action combine their efforts to answer frequently asked questions concerning the City of Seattle Disposable Shopping Bags Green Fee and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam Food Container Ban.

Nickels and Conlin Propose Green Fee on Shopping Bags, Ban on Foam; Proposed Waste Prevention Measures Would Take Effect Jan. 1, 2009,” April 2, 2008. (accessed June 18, 2008).
Like numerous other cities around the world, Seattle has proposed a 20 cent fee on disposable shopping bags. Along with the bag fee a styrofoam ban is also in order. Nickels defines his thoughts with the following statement, “The answer to the question ‘paper or plastic is neither – both harm the environment. Every piece of plastic ever made is still with us. The best way to handle a ton of waste is not to create it. The proposal is all about forming new habits. Taking a reusable bag to grocery stores and pharmacies is a simple thing that has an enormous impact.”

“Nickels and Conlin Propose Green Fee on Shopping Bags, Ban on Foam’” City of Seattle, April 2, 2008.

Report of Washington State’s Recycling Industry (2002)
This study was commissioned by King County and provides quantitative summaries of recycled and remanufactured materials processed in Washington State in 2001. The aim of the report is to measure and document the private recycling industry by focusing on employment, capital investment and material handling to assess trends, emerging markets and opportunities in the industry.

Seattle Public Utilities Litter Composition Study (2001)
The Cascadia Consulting Group and Seattle Public Utilities developed this "litter" analysis in 2001 that generates data on waste found in public trash cans throughout the city of Seattle. Take note that the report does not take actual street litter into account-- all figures on Seattle's litter composition are a result of individuals rummaging through public trash bins and recording the types of garbage thrown away throughout the city.

Seattle Public Utilities Residential Waste Stream Composition Study
Another report by the Cascadia Consulting Group that provides data on levels of paper, plastic, glass, metal and organic waste generated by residences in King County. The study breaks down litter composition by household income and size and measures annual percentage changes in various waste categories. Results show that plastic film components comprise a very small percentage of residential litter as food, animal by-products, mixed low grade and compostable paper are disposed in greater weights (28,283 tons/yr) than plastic film (2,516 tons/yr).

Seattle residential recycling composition study (2005)
The Residential Waste Stream Composition Study conducted by Seattle Public Utilities has been ongoing since 1988 and aims to analyze the composition of waste from residential recycling pickups. The study concluded that plastic bags and packaging account for a mere 0.3%-0.5% (or 127 tons/yr) of residential waste. In contrast, paper was found to account for 75.3% (or 23,793 tons/yr) of residential waste with non-recylable glass following at 17% (5,385 tons/yr).

Litter composition study Survey in England (2004)
This survey studies composition of litter picked up from various sites in England.

League of Women Voters Program - Summer 2009
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan political organization that sponsors candidate debates, public forums and ballot issue forums. This document contains basic information about Referendum 1 and introduces the parties on both sides of the campaign to tax disposable shopping bags.

Seattle to Vote on Bag Fee, Styrofoam Ban (2008)
In a National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast by Ross Reynolds on July 7, 2008, the proposed 20 cent bag tax and Styrofoam ban in Seattle is discussed. Proponents and opponents of the fee were invited to call in to express their views on the problems and benefits of a state-imposed green fee and ban.

Grocery bag fee headed to full council from the Seattle PI, July 22, 2008
Ross Reynolds of National Public Radio (NPR) conducted a special report on July 7, 2008 informing Seattleites about the recently proposed 20 cent Bag tax and Styrofoam ban. Those with opinions on both sides of the issue were asked to call in and express their points of view.

A cleaner Seattle is worth 20 cents a bag from the Seattle Times, July 14, 2008
Mayor Greg Nickels’ reasons behind the proposed ‘Green Fee’ are expressed in this Seattle Times article. Following Ireland’s lead in taxing disposable bags, Nickels hopes to reduce litter and encourage reusing bags and Styrofoam containers.

Sound off on plastic bag fee tonight from the Seattle PI, July 9, 2008
A short article inviting the community to attend the public hearing on plastic bags and Styrofoam containers.

Seattle may impose fee for paper, plastic grocery bags from the Seattle Times, July 8, 2008
This Seattle Times article describes how local restaurants such as Toshio’s Teriyaki will be affected by the ‘Green Fee’. The article mentions several other cities considering a similar ban or tax on bags and containers and describes the tax’s ultimate goal of reducing trash.

Seattle Public Utilities Survey Results (2007)
This survey was conducted by Elway Research, Inc. for Seattle Public Utilities in December 2007. The results clearly indicate that voluntary reductions of plastic bag usage are favored over fees and bans. The survey also showed strong support for stores to voluntarily reduce plastic bag usage by providing in-store recycling bins for shoppers among other measures.

The Bag Tax Rebellion from Crosscut on November 15, 2008 Seattle is a progressively green city that actively promotes environmental causes. So why has there been so much controversy surrounding the newly proposed 'Green Fee' on paper and plastic bags? Knute Berger examines the holes in the bag tax and questions whether such trivial policies are worthwhile to pursue.


Nation urged to follow SA bag ban from ABC News, May 4, 2009.
This news article provides an overview of Australia's plastic bag ban. Comments by readers exhibit mixed reactions; while some applaud the move and argue that the ban is about "living with less and thinking about how we consume things", others argue that there is "no definitive evidence that plastic bags cause an environmental problem" and cite health-related concerns that will emerge from packing a variety of different food items in the same bag and allowing bacteria to build up in unlined trash bins. One commenter suggested that "The bag is not the problem; there is 99% more plastic carried out of the shop in the bag, too much packaging is plastic, time to look a bit deeper than just the carry bag."

Plastic bag ban begins from ABC News, May 4, 2009.
Australian retailers are faced with a new challenge of curbing plastic bag usage in light of a bag ban that went into effect in early May. Opponents of the plastic bag ban argue that the legislation will likely spark health-safety risks because combining meats, seafood, and produce in one bag week after week will introduce contamination if reusable bags are not kept in sanitary conditions. A spokesman for a grocery chain also stated concerns over the extra time needed to pack green bags or wait for customers that forget their reusable bags, and urged consumers to be patient during this time of transition.

Nolan-ITU (2002), “Plastic Shopping Bags—Analysis of Levies and Environmental Impacts, Report for the Department of Environment and Heritage,” Melbourne, Australia, Prepared by Nolan-ITU Pty Ltd, Victoria, Australia, Decemberat. (Accessed June 18, 2008).

Zero Waste Program
Outlines the proposed plastic bag ban in Australia and answers frequently asked questions regarding the ban. The site also includes statistics on government spending on waste services and relevant dates for the ban.

National Plastic Bags Working Group Report to the National Packaging Covenant Council, December 6, 2002
A report on currently plastic bag use and disposal by consumers and waste management services. Identifies plastic bag problems and outlines possible solutions.

Plastic Retail Carry Bag Use for 2002-2005, May 25, 2006
A consultant report on the decline of plastic bag use in Australia from 2002-2005

Plastic Shopping Bags- An Analysis of Levies and Environmental Impacts, December 2002
An analysis of the plastic ban levy impact and environmental impacts in Australia.

“Plastic Bag Levy (Assessment and Collection) Bill 2002 and Plastic Bag (Minimization of Usage) Education Fund Bill 2002,” Submission to Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Committee, Australian Retailers Association, June 2003.


Lilienfeld, Robert, “Review of Life Cycle Data Relating To Disposable, Compostable Biodegradable, and Reusable grocery Bags,” The ULS Report, June 1, 2007.
(accessed June 3, 2008). The ULS Report examines credible research reports in focus on San Francisco’s March 2007 ban of plastic grocery bags. The San Francisco ban prohibits the use of plastic grocery bags at supermarkets and large pharmacies. Objectives of the ban encompass stopping environmental degradation and reducing litter by replacing traditional plastic bags with reusable bags or bags made from paper or compostable plastics. The Amended version of the AB 2058 Assembly Bill
This amended version of the AB 2058 Assembly Bill establishes an at-store recycling program that provides customers with the opportunity to return clean plastic carryout bags to grocery stores.

Plastic-bag Ban Unravels, from the Los Angeles Times on January 23, 2008
An article that describes the L.A. County board’s decision to adopt a voluntary recycling program and withdraw the motion to ban shopping and grocery bags.

Plastic bag factsheet from USC and
Answers frequently asked questions about plastic grocery bag use. Provides disposable bag production, recycling, and consumption statistics in California.

Program Calls for Recycling Plastic Bags from Sign On San Diego, August 7, 2008.
Solana Beach has found a private company to cut out the middleman and use plastic bags to make recycled products such as deckboards and fencing. So far few, if any, cities provide plastic bags directly to a manufacturer and Solana Beach is the first in the county to directly contract with a manufacturer.

Baggage from SF Weekly, January 5, 2009.
San Francisco's plastic bag ban set a green trend for other cities and gave residents the perception that they were reducing their carbon footprint and saving the environment. However, current findings show that consumers have resorted to more damaging substitute and increased their consumption of paper bags, which costs more to produce and transport.

State faces new budget shortfall, new tax ideas from SFGate on March 16, 2009.
Lawmakers are proposing a plethora of new taxes to cover the state’s massive budget deficit. Democrats Mike Davis and Julia Browley have proposed AB87/SB531 and AB68, which aims to place a 25 cent fee on plastic bags. Other proposals include fees on cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and pornography. Cities and counties are also looking for a way to raise income taxes and vehicle license fees.

Porn, Pot, and -- Plastic? Will Massive Deficit Kill or Enable Statewide Bag Fee? from SF Weekly on March 16, 2009.
New proposals aim to place a 25 cent fee on all paper, plastic, and degradable plastic bags handed out to shoppers. This article questions the rational and timing behind government efforts to start taxing bags currently being offered for free. In a recession economy, government optimism will likely fade as efforts to sack bags spark controversy.

Groceries fall in line with Palo Alto's plastic bag ban from Mercury News, 9/17/2009
All seven of Palo Alto's full-service grocers are preparing for the plastic bag ban to take effect in September 2009. Though some consumers still request plastic bags, complaints have been reported to be minimal and reusable bag sales have doubled over a year.

Palo Alto settles lawsuit over plastic bags from Mountain View Voice, 7/30/2009
Palo Alto and the group have been in negotiations for three months and finally came to a settlement about completing a proper environmental review before banning plastic bags. The settlement stalls the bag ban from expanding to other cities and Palo Alto will fulfill its obligations to produce a complete environmental review before the city implements the legislation in September 2009.


Hocking, Martin B. (1994). “Reusable and Disposable Cups: An Energy Based Evaluation,” Environmental Management 18(6), pp. 889-899.
“A group of five different types of reusable and disposable hot drink cups have been analyzed in detail with respect to their overall energy costs during fabrication and use. Electricity generating methods and efficiencies have been found to be key factors in the primary energy consumption for the washing of reusable cups and a less important factor in cup fabrication. In Canada or the United States, over 500 or more use cycles, reusable cups are found to have about the same or slightly more energy consumption, use for use, as molded polystyrene foam cups used once and then discarded. For the same area, paper cups used once and discarded are found to consume less fossil fuel energy per use than any of the other cup types examined. Details of this analysis, which could facilitate the comparative assessment of other scenarios, are presented."


“Fact Box-Plastic not Fantastic?; Bag bans around the world,” Reuters, May 27, 2008. (accessed June 10, 2008).
Reuters reports China’s outlaw of ultra-thin plastic bags to take action on June 1, 2008. China is taking action in an effort to reduce pollution and increase resources. Reuters provides are descriptions of other countries current actions being taken to reduce and restrict the use of plastic bags; included is San Francisco, CA’s grocery bag outlaw.

Plastic bag ban ignored at open food markets from China Daily on June 10, 2009
A year after the ban on free plastic bags, a research firm called Global Village released a survey on its progress and discussed its finding in a conference. Pictures of bag alternatives and the events are found at this site, as well as a summary of survey results.

China Reports 66 Percent Drop in Plastic Bag Use from The Huffington Post on June 25, 2009
This article addresses the progress of China’s plastic bag ban. In particular, plastic bag usage and the enforcement of the ban on free plastic bags are discussed in detail. This source provided helpful links to articles from World Watch and China Daily and included several figures on consumption habits and fines.

Plastic bag ban forces closure of factory from China Daily on February 27, 2008
Huaqiang, China's largest plastic bag manufacturer stopped production of LDPE/HDPE plastic bags in light of a government policy that bans the free distribution of 90% of its manufactured products. The 20,000 employees of the factory were forced to reduce production in January 2008 to meet the drastic demand reduction.


Litter composition study Survey in England (2004)
This survey studies composition of litter picked up from various sites in England.


Degradable plastic not so rare from The Times of India, January 18, 2009
Provides an overview of the process of using a polymer-based additive to create biodegradable bags. Though the process of making degradable bags is relatively simple, manufacturers are feeling the heat with the passage of the new legislation which prohibits the use of all plastic bags in the city. The author estimates that about 2 million people involved with the manufacture of plastic bags will be unemployed with the new bag ban.

Delhi to outlaw plastic bags from the Guardian, January 16, 2009
Customers and shopkeepers will now face fines or jail time for using polythene bags in New Delhi. As the capital city’s economy boomed with western-style shopping malls, consumption of plastic bags also rose. Threats of malaria and dengue fever from waste that clogs the city’s drainage system have pushed lawmakers to ban plastic bags and issue stiff fines for non-compliant businesses and residents who continue to use plastic bags.

Delhi bans plastic bags, users to be fined or jailed from CNN-IBN, January 16, 2009
The New Delhi government is enforcing a complete ban on plastic bags and those who are found distributing or carrying groceries in plastic bags run the risk of fines or jail time. The ban was implemented in hospitals, shopping centers and restaurants in order to curb people off plastic, which has been around for too long.

Now plastics out of New Delhi from SahilOnline, January 18, 2009
Shopkeepers, restaurateurs and consumers are now prohibited from using plastic bags in New Delhi, under section 5 of the Environmental Protection Act of 1986. Though the cost of alternatives is larger, some Delhiites feel that being eco-friendly is worth the extra expense and that the strict fines or jail time is a natural course of action.

Plastic ban: Government bags jute shop in Dilli Haat from ExpressIndia, January 18, 2009
The lack of alternatives readily available in New Delhi is stirring up some opportunities for businessmen that are starting to open stalls that sell jute bags. The only way to implement the new plastic bag ban will be to encourage people to carry their own eco-friendly bags. The article reports that the government is working on a bigger action plan involving additional RWAs to ban plastic bags and promote use of reusable alternatives.

Indian state outlaws plastic bags from BBC News, August 7, 2003
Discusses India's new ban on plastic bags and its primary implementation in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.

Plastic bag ban by Indian state from, August 25, 2005
Outlines the potential disadvantages that could be dealt to the labor market by India's ratification of new anti-plastic bag legislation.


The PlasTax - About Ireland's Plastic Bag Tax
Provides a basic summary of the PlasTax. Answers basic questions regarding the tax, such as which bags are exempt, how the tax works, and consumption statistics.

Irish bag tax hailed success from BBC News, August 20, 2002
Describes the revenue received from the Irish bag tax and reflects on global movement towards taxing or banning bags.

Plastic-Bag Bans Gaining Momentum Around the World from National Geographic News, April 4, 2008
An article that examines the global role of plastic bags in China, Kenya and Uganda. Describes how state legislation fails to promote plastic bag alternatives and problems with associated with substituting plastic with paper bags.

Carrier Bag Consortium
Provides a plethora of links relating to plastic bag consumption in various countries. Examines whether plastic bag bans are indeed effective in providing environmental sustainability and sheds light on unanticipated externalities that arise from taxing plastic bags.

New York

City Council Passes Bill for Recycling of Plastic Bags from the New York Times, January 10, 2008
An article detailing the City Council's decision to pass a bill requiring large retailers to collect and recycle plastic bags that have been distribute to shoppers.

NY City Council Approves Plastic Bag Recycling Bill, January 14, 2008
Written by an online environmental newspaper, this article looks into New York City's retailer recycling program and its environmental advantages.

NYS Bill May Weaken NYC Plastic Bag Recycling
A sound clip that discusses U.S. plastic bag production and consumption. Addresses the New York City proposal to boot recycling programs.


MSPs reject levy on plastic bags from BBC News, September 27, 2006
Members of the Scottish Parliament voted unanimously against Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Pringle’s proposed bill to tax plastic carrier bags. After commissioning their own environmental study of the bill, the Scottish Parliament’s environmental committee came to the conclusion that the tax would not be effective in achieving its main aim.

Call for levy on plastic bags from BBC News, October 28, 2003
Scottish Liberal Democrat Mike Pringle has proposed that Scotland introduce a levy on disposable plastic bags in order to protect the environment and combat pollution. Mr. Pringle uses the success of Ireland’s Plastax as an argument for its implementation in Scotland, explaining that the scheme will be designed to be carried out through local authorities and has already been greeted with optimism in several cities in England.

Bags plan ‘has limited benefits’ from BBC News, August 29, 2005
As a response to Mike Pringle’s Plastic Bags (Scotland) Bill, the Scottish Executive ordered their own environmental study on the potential effects of the tax. Researchers found that the bag tax would have a “minor” impact on the country’s litter problem and that there were more effective ways to make a more significant environmental difference.

MSP proposes plastic bag charge from BBC News, June 20, 2005
Liberal Democrat Mike Pringle officially unveils his proposal to make vendors charge 10p per plastic carrier bag to the Scottish Parliament. According to Mr. Pringle, plastic bags take an extremely long amount of time to decompose in landfill sites and present a challenge to the wellbeing of the environment. The Scottish Executive has decided to first commission their own study of the proposed bag levy before passing any firm decisions.

South Africa

South Africa bans plastic bags from BBC News, May 9, 2003
An article from the day South Africa’s new plastic bag ban went into effect. Details the hopes of the program and its specifications.

Africa Wages War on Plastic Bags, December 17, 2007
Serves as a helpful look into the problem of plastic bags in South Africa and on the African continent as a whole.


“Taiwan rescinds plastic bag ban,” Carrier Bag Consortium. (Accessed June 10, 2008).

United Nations

Press Release: Report Brings to the Surface the Growing Global Problem of Marine Litter
The first-ever assessment of 12 major regional seas around the world, was launched on World Oceans Day by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Ocean Conservancy. The report does not consider the marine habitat on the United States' west coast. In response, UNEP official Achim Steiner suggests, "Some of the litter, like thin film single use plastic bags which choke marine life, should be banned or phased-out rapidly everywhere-there is simply zero justification for manufacturing them anymore, anywhere."

Report: Marine Litter: A Global Challenge
This report is a survey of current marine issue in the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caspian, East African Seas, Eastern Africa, Mediterranean, Northeast Atlantic, Northwest Pacific, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, South Asian Seas, South Pacific, and Wider Caribbean.

Report: Guidelines on the Use of Market-based Instruments to Address the Problem of Marine Litter
This is a "how-to" guide published by the United Nations, which outlines a variety of market-based methods to reduce marine litter. Taxation and banning of plastics is mentioned several times, but isn't the only solution. Other solutions include Deposit refund schemes, fines, enforced liability, port reception/ship berthing fees, tourist taxes, award-based incentives and many more. The UNEP explicitly cites marine litter problems as the primary purpose for these market-based incentives.

Washington D.C.

Bill 18-150
Bill 18-150: The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act of 2009 bans the use of disposable non-recyclable plastic carryout bags and assesses consumers a 5 cent fee per recyclable paper and plastic carryout bag used to carry purchases at retail establishments like grocery stores, convenience stores and liquor stores. It bans the use of disposable non-recyclable plastic carryout bags and assesses consumers a 5 cent fee per recyclable paper and plastic carryout bag used to carry purchases at retail establishments like grocery stores, convenience stores and liquor stores. The Bill was passed unanimously

D.C. Council gives final approval to bag tax bill from - June 16, 2009
The D.C. Council has given final approval to a bag tax on items purchased at stores in the District. The bill will add a 5-cent fee on every paper and plastic bag shoppers use at grocery, drug, convenience and liquor stores -- as well as street vendors.

Paper or Plastic? D.C. Council Votes for 5-Cent Tax on Both from the Washington Post - June 3, 2009
"The D.C. Council voted unanimously yesterday to assess a 5-cent tax on paper and plastic bags to try to discourage their use, putting the District at the forefront of efforts nationwide to promote reusable shopping bags. The proposal, which must be voted on again later this month before it becomes law, is designed to limit pollution of the Anacostia River and its tributaries. The tax would apply to grocery stores, pharmacies and other food-service providers..."

Fenty proposes to use bag tax money for street sweeping from the D.C. Wire - April 1, 2010
To the surprise of bag tax proponents, much of the initial bag tax revenue was spent on exiting public services. Falling revenue estimates have some saying the bag tax falls short of environmental cleanup expectations.

Capital Takes Bag Tax In Stride from the Wall Street Journal - September 20, 2010
A 5-cent free on bags has gone smoothly and many note change in bag behavior as consumers bring reusuable totes and retailers issue less bags. Declining revenues are expected, but this is a positive change for reducing litter that ends in the Anacostia River.

Anacostia River Trash Reduction Plan (2008)
The Anacostia River is an urban tributary to the Potomac River with a serious litter problem. In an effort to reduce pollution, D.C. and Maryland contracted The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) to undertake a systematic assessment of the composition of litter found in the river. The study found that plastic bags composed 20% of the Anacostia’s litter and less than 5% of litter on land. Plastic bags composed the highest percentage of litter in surrounding streams (47%). Protect the Anacostia River Cleanup Fund
This awareness campaign seeks to prevent former Mayor Fenty from moving the entire bag tax Fund from the Department of the Environment to the Department of Public Works, to cover existing programs such as street sweeping. The organization argues street sweeping is not a valuable service that reduces litter and it should be funded from the General Fund, not the dedicated Anacostia River Cleanup Fund for which the bag tax revenue was expected to benefit.

Mexico City

Unveiling a Plastic Bag Ban in Mexico City, from the New York Times August 21, 2009
As of August 2009, disposable plastic grocery bags were banned in Mexico City. The legislation, passed in March, requires all stores to provide biodegradable bags to customers. Yet there is a one-year grace period before the policy will be enforced by authorities and many deails have yet to be straightened out. Are produce bags exempt? What are the penalties for non-compliant retailers? These are a few issues that will likely arise in the coming months.

No more plastic bags for Mexico City, from CNN August 19, 2009
Mexico City became the second largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw plastic bags in August. The law affects all stores in the city of 9 million residents. Cited concerns included litter and marine life deaths.

General Information

Benjamin, Daniel K., Editor Shaw, Jane S., “Eight Great Myths of Recycling,” Issue Number PS-28, September 2003.
Daniel K. Benjamin provides a history of garbage systems, recycling programs, and rubbish around the world. He continues on to take a closer look into “garbage” misconceptions and provides facts proving great recycling myths and their falsehoods. Myths from “running out of resources,” “recycling always protects the environment,” to “our garbage will bury us,” are revealed to inform on the truthfulness of recycling actions.

Hardy and Charles, “Resource and Environmental Profile Analysis of Polyethylene and Unbleached Paper Grocery Sacks,” Franklin Associates Study, p. 5-6
Hardy and Charles examine the recent attention being directed by environmentalists, government officials, commercial, and retail business, and legislators towards packaging bags. Two major concerns include; decreasing landfill capacity and the volume of certain packaging materials as municipal solid waste.

McKay, Betsy, “Pepsi to Cut Plastic Used in Bottles; Attempt Is Latest To Reduce Impact On Environment,” The Wall Street Journal, P. B2. May 6, 2008.
Current environmental waste and global warming concerns have convinced PepsiCo Inc. to reduce the amount of plastic used in bottles of some non-soda beverages. An example of the reduction in plastic is the Lipton Iced Tea bottle being reduced from 23.5 grams of plastic to 18.6 grams, a reduction of nearly 20 percent.

Ahmed, S.U, Gotoh, K, “Impact of Banned Polythene bags on floods of Dhaka City by Applying CVM and Remote Sensing,” July 2005.

“The Plastic Bag Levy will increase to 22 cent on Sunday 1st July 2007,” July 1, 2007. (Accessed June 23, 2008).

“The Wholes in the Argument for a Carrier Bag Tax; Why Plastic Carrier Bars are the best Environmental Choice you Can Make,”

“What is Styrofoam?” Dow Chemical Company.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
The EPA website provides data on th national use, recycling, source reduction and production of plastic bags. The step-by-step analysis on how plastics are made and recycled were used to construct a life cycle analysis for a general shopping bag. The resin codes and chart describing types of plastics provided information on the varities of plastic bags that are used in the U.S.

California Film Extruders and Converters Association (CFECA) Newsletters
The California Film Extruders and Converters Association (CFECA) is a trade association of California based manufacturers and suppliers that impartially represent the interests of the plastic film extruding and converting industry. The organization issues a monthly newsletter that addresses topics such as the effect of plastic legislation, types of plastic polymers, plastic bags in foreign countries, recycling programs and the life cycle of the plastic bag.

National Litter Pollution Monitoring Systems, May 2003
The National Litter Pollution Monitoring System addresses the problem of the quantity, composition and causes of litter in Europe. The data produced in the report allows authorities to change the level of litter from different locations over time, analyze the impact of new legislation and target the source and causes of litter.

Comparison of existing life cycle analysis of shopping bag alternatives
Hyder Consulting produced a report for Sustainability Victoria, which compiles existing life cycle assesment (LCA) data to compare the varying environmental impacts of shopping bag alternatives in Australia. The study reflects on the postive and negative social, environmental and scientific aspects of reusable, biodegradable, HDPE and paper bags by analyzing the amount of material, energy, litter, water and contribution to global warming that goes into producing each type of bag.

Evaluation of Performance of Rigid Plastic Packaging
California State University and the Chico Research Foundation produced this 2007 research report which evalutates the compostability of plastic products. The study determined that compostable plastic materials perform well in a variety of different applications and can reduce the amount of space in landfills.

SPI - The Plastics Industry Trade Association
SPI is a plastics industry trade association founded in 1937. The group provides information on sustainability by promoting conservation, reuse and recycling programs. The website also addresses the beneficial role that plastics play in solid waste incineration and landfills compared to alternatives.

Plastic Bag Externaities and Policy in Rhode Island
This report written for environmental law and policy examines externalities associates with the production and disposal of plastic bags in terms of CO2 emissions, water pollution and solid waste. This study aimed to reduce the amount of solid waste in Rhode Island's Central Landfill by examining the effects that paper and plastic bags have on landfill space.

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