War on Plastics :: China 1 USA 0

By Maria L Gaycheck
(05/30/2008)

On June 1, this year, China joined a growing list of nations, from Canada to Bangladesh, to combat the increasing environmental problems caused by plastic bags. The nation’s ban on the production of plastic bags under 0.025mm thick is already well underway, with shopkeepers barred from handing out free plastic bags except for fresh and cooked foods.

Ultra-thin plastic bags are the principal target of the crackdown because they are typically used once and then discarded, adding to waste in a country that is increasingly conscious of the air and water pollution caused by its breakneck economic growth.

Plastic bag makers have already felt the pinch from the looming restrictions. Some have even been forced out of business. But Tootoo, experts in Chinese industry and B2B exports, say that the impact upon plastic bag manufacturers hinges on whether the new rules are enforced or not.

“This is especially important in larger cities like Beijing, where demand for plastic bags is huge,” said a spokesman. “The implementation and monitoring of the law will ultimately determine the future of the plastic bags industry.”

Xiao Ling, the mother of a 6-year-old boy, said her family was already in the habit of using nylon shopping bags. But she, too, was skeptical. “Getting rid of all ultra-thin plastic bags will take a long time,” she said while out shopping at a Wal-Mart supermarket in Beijing.

Poor Wal-Mart. Pity the multi-million dollar corporation.

If you are looking for shopping bags, made in the United States, then check out the Minnesota Materials solutions to shopping bags and graduation gifts.

The Wintergreen Designs Grocery Bag (read here) is an Minnesota Materials editor’s pick. In an interview with the editor of I asked why is this is a good pick not only for earth day but as a graduation gift?

“It’s sturdy, waterproof, attractive, and the handles are think so that you do not get the dredded ‘crimped fingers syndrome’ that other bags with handles seem to cause. It’s perfect for a graduation gift (put a grocery store or food co-op gift card inside) because the campus cafeteria isn’t always open or stocked with your grad’s favorite study fuel. “

No matter what, the US is behind other countries in eliminating waste. Since the laws are not being put forth to guarentee the future generations their opportunities for good health, long life and proper living environment then we should do our part.

Even if means the US takes the lead from China.

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