In 2008, China banned the distribution of free plastic bags, instituting a small charge for them, which cut their use by half. In the Wood River Valley, our grocery stores have tried to reduce plastic bag waste by giving away 2,000 reusable bags last Earth Day, and they're set to do the same thing this year on April 21.
So far, this effort, led by students in the Environmental Club at Wood River High School, has had a noticeable impact, but if our community wants to reduce our plastic bag waste further, we'll need the leadership of our grocers and city governments. One option is to institute a 5-cent charge for plastic bags at King's, Atkinsons' and Albertsons. Personally, I would also appreciate a gentle reminder from my checker to bring a bag next time, or some encouragement to carry a few items in my hands.
I just wonder whether our grocers are willing to make these changes and whether our community would support them.