Several people have sent me links to this New York Times story this weekend, which happens to be the "most forwarded" story on the newspaper's Web site today. It's about Ireland's plastic bag tax, which was started in 2002 and pretty much kicked off the wave of plastic bag taxes and bans that seem to be sweeping the globe today. The story explains how retailers and the public have adapted to the tax:
Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable — on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one's dog. "When my roommate brings one in the flat it annoys the hell out of me," said Edel Egan, a photographer, carrying groceries last week in a red backpack.Ireland's experience is portrayed in a pretty positive light -- would Americans welcome a tax so openly? The American Chemistry Council's Plastics Division has joined the bag ban battle in the United States in recent weeks, but after reading the Times' story, I have to wonder if they're fighting a losing cause.