Instead of resorting to bag taxes and bans, some communities and retailers have tried voluntary efforts to reduce bag consumption. Let's check on the status of two -- one small-scale effort, and one on a very large scale. On the small side, an IGA grocery store in Lennox Head, Australia, announced this week that it is bringing back plastic bags, after 12 months of being bag-free. The store manager told The Northern Star newspaper that the decision was made due to overwhelming customer feedback. "Due to customer feedback over the past 12 months we have reintroduced customer choice," the manager told the newspaper. "We have boxes, green bags, paper bags for 17 cents and reusable, biodegradable plastic bags." Meanwhile, in Britain, groceries are reporting dramatic success with a voluntary effort. Since the program started four years ago, British retailers say they have cut the number of plastic bags used by 4 billion annually. Some 6.1 billion carrier bags were handed out in the first five months of 2010, a 43 percent drop from the 10.6 billion handed out 2006, according to the British Retail Consortium. The Daily Mail -- which is sponsoring a Banish the Bags campaign -- reported that BRC said the figures are a "ringing endorsement" of the voluntary approach taken by supermarkets.
Status of two voluntary bag reduction efforts
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