Bag Bans

Kenya Nationwide Plastic Bag Ban

Kenya's government began discussing a nationwide ban on thin, single-use disposable plastic bags in 2005. In addition to the bags' impact on the environment, Wangari Mathaai, the assistant environment minister in Kenya and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, also linked plastic bag litter with malaria: The bags, when discarded, can fill with rainwater offering ideal and new breeding grounds for the malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Punjab (Pakistan) Plastic Bag Ban

In 2008 the Lahore High Court in Pakistan ordered the Punjab government to ban the use of plastic bags in the province. The decision was made in response to a petition to the court, charging that the bags cause ongoing environmental degradation because they can neither be destroyed nor recycled. 

Himachal Pradesh (India) Plastic Bag Ban

The Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, in India, banned plastic bags way back in 2003, threatening heavy fines (100,000 rupees, or $2,000) and imprisonment for up to seven years for those who disobey the ban. The law--which bans the production, storage, use, sale and distribution of polythene bags--is based on legislation passed by the national parliament, but Himachal Pradesh is the first state to have implemented it.

Edinburgh Proposed Bag Ban

Green Party councillor Alison Johnstone proposed a bag ban in Edinburgh in 2007. Had it passed, Edinburgh would have become the first city in the UK to ban plastic bags. It did not pass, but environmentalists in the city are still pushing for it.

Delhi Plastic Bag Ban

The Indian metropolis of Delhi passed a strict ban on plastic bags in 2009, making possession of a plastic bag within the city limits punishable by up to five years in prison. According to the official note, the "use, storage and sale" of plastic bags of any kind or thickness is now banned. The new guideline means that customers, shopkeepers, hoteliers and hospital staff face a 100,000 rupee fine (£1,370) in addition to a possible jail sentence for using non-biodegradable bags.


Cinque Terre Plastic Water Bottle Ban

The five coastal villages that comprise Cinque Terre, in Italy, banned plastic water bottles in 2010 amid concerns that the area--a national park--was being literally buried in garbage by the hundreds of thousands of hikers and tourists visiting each year and leaving behind their plastic water bottles. Local experts put the garbage toll at about 2 million plastic bottles per year.

Fort McMurray (Canada) Single-Use Bag Ban

Fort McMurray, Alberta, the capital of Canada's tar sands oil country, passed a bylaw in 2009 banning all single-use shopping bags. The ban went into effect in September 2010.

Rwanda National Bag Ban

The African country of Rwanda proposed a nationwide ban on single-use dispoable plastic bags in 2005. The ban was passed and made effective September 2008.

Once the ban passed, locals were encouraged to use the monthly obligatory communal work session, known locally as umuganda to collect all the plastic bags lying around or buried.

France National Plastic Bag Ban

In November 2005 France's national government passed a plastic bag ban effective as of 2010. Although earlier versions of the proposed ban would have also included plastic packaging, the final ban, which passed unanimously, is limited solely to plastic bags.

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