San Francisco is close to changing its laws concerning plastic bag use, as the city votes to ban petroleum-based plastic bags in pharmacies and grocery stores. Other countries, such as Germany, have made consumers pay a hefty tax for using plastic bags for years. The ban, if passed, will come into effect for groceery stores in 6 months, and a year in pharmacies.
This is a small step, but hopefully other cities will follow and the effect will grow as it ripples out into the rest of our society. Our levels of consumption are unacceptable, so much of it is done without thought. Forcing consumers to think before using unnecessary amounts of bags (regardless of their origin, paper or plastic) will raise daily awareness.
We should also look to the packaging industry to change its excessive habits… one of my friends told me about a campaign in which large groups of individuals were entering grocery stores and unwrapping items that have excess packaging.