States Providing Incentives To Go Green
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Politics and Activism

States Providing Incentives To Go Green

Some state lawmakers are providing major incentives to bring reusable bags to grocery and retail stores by either prohibiting single-use plastic bags, or adding a small charge per bag.

States Providing Incentives To Go Green

In order to mitigate the harmful effects that plastic bags have on oceans, rivers, lakes, and the wildlife that inhabit them, some states are taking a more radical approach to reduce their statewide carbon footprint. One of the main targets is plastic and paper bags that retail and grocery stores use.

In general, plastic products take a tremendous toll on earth's surface. Although the mass production of plastic is meant for purposes that aid the public, the chemicals that make up plastic have long-ranging effects on all of the earth's inhabitants. According to Environmental Health News, humans are exposed to a harmful range of chemicals that plastics give off multiple times a day.

Furthermore, plastic products continually end up in waterways, disrupting habitats and even killing the wildlife. Because plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, products end up in landfills and oceans and stay there, wreaking havoc on ecosystems and spilling chemicals into the earth's service.

States such as California and Hawaii are taking a stand against this problem, starting with one of the most prevalent uses of plastic, single-use plastic bags. In 2014, California was the first state legislature to impose a ban on single-use plastic bags, in effect July 2015. This is the first in a series of state legislating to impose a ban on plastic (and paper) bags, with bans in New Jersey and Texas following suit. Specifically, the ban mandates that large retail and grocery stores be prohibited from using single-use plastic bags, unless they charge .05 to .10 cents per bag to counteract its harmful effects and provide incentives for people to start using their own recyclable bags.

Being from Dallas, Texas, I noticed the .10 cent additional cost per plastic bag right away at the grocery store. I am all for the innovative idea, because I think it will really provide incentive for people to stop using single-use plastic bags. It is not that this relatively low cost solely impelled me to bring my own reusable bags, because what difference does .10 cents per bag really make in the big scheme of things? Rather, the charge is important because it disrupts people's habitual behaviors and helps them see the linkage between environmental change and little changes they make in their own lives. Seemingly small modifications in daily lives can make a big difference for the betterment of our environment.

And make a difference they have. According to a recent study, plastic bag reduction rates have gone down 60 percent for Washington D.C., and Seattle's reduction rate is 80 percent. Because of this, studies have shown that mass retail purchases of single-use plastic and paper bags have gone down a rather significant amount.

What a refreshing change to hear that some type of positive changes are being made to reduce America's collective carbon footprint!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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