Plastic bag ban stories have been so commonplace in the media for the past few weeks that I've given up linking to most of them. The trend really seems to be building all over the world. I'll make an exception to the "no link" rule with this feature from Wednesday's Christian Science Monitor. It's a story about how British filmmaker Rebecca Hosking persuaded her hometown of Modbury, England, to ban plastic bags, and how the "revolt" is spreading across Britain.
It was watching sea creatures choke on plastic bags in the Pacific Ocean that finally persuaded Rebecca Hosking that enough was enough. The British filmmaker had already recoiled in disgust at deserted Hawaiian beaches piled up with four feet of rubbish, the jetsam of Western consumerism washed up by an ocean teeming with plastic. Now, filming off the coast, she looked on aghast as sea turtles eagerly mistook bobbing translucent shapes in the water for jellyfish. "Sea turtles can't read Wal-mart or Tesco signs on plastic bags," fumes Ms. Hosking, who returned to Britain in March. "They will home in on it and feed on it. Dolphins mistake them for seaweed and quite often they'll eat them and it causes huge damage." Within a few weeks of coming back, Hosking persuaded her hometown to ban plastic bags outright and found herself in the vanguard of a sudden British revulsion for that most disposable convenience of the throwaway society. Stores, grass-roots groups, and citizens are joining forces to reduce national consumption of plastic bags, and Hosking is fielding hundreds of requests a day for guidance.According to the story, Hosking screened her film in Modbury, and invited the town's shopkeepers. After they watched the film, they unanimously decided to support a voluntary ban on plastic bags. Retailers across Britain followed suit, and the Sainsbury chain has gotten quite a bit of press for its reusable cotton "I am not a plastic bag" bags, which it sold for $10. So far, Britain's government has not jumped on the "bag ban" bandwagon, although it officially encourages retailers to set up voluntary recycling projects.