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[GreenYes] Re: Plastic Bag Recycling - What Happened in Ireland?

Kendall, I have been looking into this. I have found consistent, misleading and evasive wording from the plastic industry on this issue.
They tell you that "kitchen catcher"/"conventional garbage bag" consumption has increased, but they don't tell you whether this increase matches the decline in carry-out bag consumption. Early on, they even used percentages misleadingly: carry-out bag use has declined 90% while garbage bag consumption has doubled (or whatever) ~ the point is a 90% decline in a *large* number is bigger than a 100% increase in a *small* number.

Ask for the tonnage data!

Here's a typical source for the industry perspective, with all the arguments:

They say admit the reduction in use, but raise other issues like the one you mentioned ~ as well as this corker:

Experience in the Republic of Ireland indicates that the usage of plastic carrier bags has declined by in excess of 90% - but the residual funds (est. 10 million Euros) generated by the remaining 10% of those prepared to pay for carrier bags is estimated to be far less than the cost borne by the authorities in administering the program and is certainly less than the increased cost of theft to retailers as stated by RGDATA (Irish Grocers? Association) and in other published reports. A very good argument for implementing British Columbia style EPR on these bags, so the grocers have to administer the program themselves!

If the bag levy were, in fact, a refundable deposit, it would not only raise funds (unclaimed deposits) to run the system but also get back more bags because of the monetary incentive.

At 08:58 AM 1/16/2008, Kendall Christiansen wrote:
In the wake of new plastic shopping bag initiatives in SF, NYC, etc., and discussion of prospective bans in China and Australia, does anyone know what happened in Ireland after imposition of its bag-tax?  Have heard it suggested that the unintended consequence was that shoppers declined to pay the tax for light-weight shopping bags, but then opted to buy heavier conventional garbage bags for their household waste (which previously had been contained in shopping bags), resulting in a net increase in film plastic being disposed of (while perhaps solving a litter problem)?.  Can anyone confirm whether that?s true or not?  If true, anything new under consideration?
Kendall Christiansen
Gaia Strategies
Brooklyn, NY 11225

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