Like cigarettes, plastic bags have recently gone from a tolerated nuisance to a widely despised and discouraged vice.
Last month, the New York City Council passed a 5-cent-per-bag fee on single-use bags handed out by most retailers. Last week, the Massachusetts State Senate passed a measure that would ban plastic bags from being dispensed by many retail businesses and require a charge of 10 cents or more for a recycled paper or reusable bag. The Massachusetts proposal may not become law this year, but it’s the latest sign that the plastic bag industry is losing this war. Already in Massachusetts, 32 towns and cities have passed bag bans or fees. So have at least 88 localities in California, including the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, plus cities and towns in more than a dozen other states and more than a dozen other countries.