Is It Time to Bag the Plastic?

In my New York City apartment, the kitchen drawers, the coat closet, even the wine rack are overflowing with a type of waste that is rapidly disappearing elsewhere — the used plastic shopping bag.

Many countries and a handful of American cities have more or less done away with this supposed convenience item, by discouraging its use through plastic-bag taxes at checkout counters or outright bans. Walk down the streets of Dublin or Seattle or San Francisco and there is barely a bag in sight. Life continues.

“It didn’t take people very long to accommodate at all,” said Dick Lilly, manager for waste prevention in Seattle, where a plastic-bag ban took effect last summer. “Basically overnight those grocery and drugstore bags were gone.”

But in much of America we seem more addicted than ever. On a recent shopping trip to Target in Chicago for some dorm supplies while visiting my son, I emerged with what seemed to be more bags than socks or rolls of toilet paper (only a slight exaggeration). At my local supermarket, plastic bags are applied layer upon layer around purchases, like Russian nesting dolls.

Read full text at The New York Times