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Hawaii Becomes First State in The Nation to Ban Plastic Bags

The state followed a nationwide trending of cities, finally banning plastic bags.

Image via Flickr User Zainub Razvi

In the past couple of years, cities and towns across the nation have started to ban plastic bags. Less than one percent of plastic bags are recycled, and it costs more to recycle a plastic bag that create a new one. That’s why Oahu, the most populated Hawaiian island, decided to join the other Hawaiian islands and officially ban plastic and other non-compostable bags from their stores. Beginning Wednesday, Hawaii will become the first state in the nation to ban plastic bags.

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The Plastic Bag War Is Moving Toward the Produce Aisle

You don't use plastic bags at the grocery checkout. So why do you still use them in the produce department?


At grocery stores across the country, the campaign to end the use of plastic bags has staked a claim on the checkout line. But in the produce department, plastic still reigns supreme. A selection of apples, a bunchy of kale dewy from the produce misters, or a pound of pinto beans from the wholesale bin—these items get dumped into single-use plastic produce bags.

In places where the canvas grocery bag already controls the territory, that's leading to a new front in the anti-plastic bag campaign: one targeting those plastic produce bags. Many of the bags’ critics are fighting on their own, but institutions are starting to catch on. Some farmers’ markets have switched to biodegradable single-use bags, a step above the traditional plastic ones. At Brooklyn's Park Slope Food Co-op, the environmental committee recently urged shoppers to forgo the bags altogether.

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Can Designers Save the World Without Creating More Stuff?

How to redesign the plastic bag without using any materials at all… and other lessons about the power of design.


It’s not till you’re older that you realize kids are repositories for half-truths. They’re told the most extraordinary things. You could be president some day. You could compete in the Olympics. Grown-ups dispense these fantasies with earnest hope, knowing that the chances of their child fulfilling such a goal are very slim.

“Designers can save the world,” was a common phrase I heard upon entering design school. It was the ultimate half-truth, one that resulted in class critiques filled with eco-inspired projects: billboards lined with solar panels, cell phones made of birdseed, wind-powered villages. Though the sentiment was admirable, these solutions were designed by students with no understanding of real-world economics and politics. Little did we know that to attach even one solar panel onto a billboard can take years of lobbying. That’s the problem with designing for a better planet—most solutions require too much time and result in adding more physical stuff to an already bursting planet.

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Wow: China's Free Bag Ban Reduced Consumption by 50 Percent

Putting a price on plastic bags in China probably saved the world about 100 billion pieces of trash.


Back in June of 2008, China made it illegal for stores to offer plastic bags for free. They had to charge customers for the bags. Store owners could set their own price for the bags—as long as it wasn't lower than the cost of the bag—and keep the profits themselves.

A student at the University of Gothenburg, Haoran He, recently studied the effect of this law on people's behavior and the results are remarkable.

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More Evidence That D.C.'s Bag Tax Had a Big Effect

When Washington, D.C.'s five-cent plastic bag tax went into effect, it looked like a good idea. Evidence just keeps mounting that it was.


When Washington, D.C.'s plastic bag tax (five cents per bag at grocery and convenience stores) went into effect, it looked like a good idea. Early assessments suggested it was. And now, later assessments are only confirming it further.

Washington D.C.'s five-cent tax on plastic shopping bags has cut their use by more than half, the WSJ reports this morning.

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