Before too long the days of "paper or plastic" will be history. Cities all over the word are making the bold move to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags. I think this is a smart move.
If people won't change their behavior - bringing their own reusable bags - they have to be given no other choice. Giving people an "incentive" of 5 cents off for bringing their own bags clearly does nothing to change behavior en mass.
Plastic bags are now on the market that are made of corn and fully degrade in 120 days. They are made by Trellis Earth, a company based in Portland, Oregon. The bags have already made their way to grocery stores there, with The Daily Grind being one of the first to adopt them. They're on Hawthorne street by the way, if you want to see what the bags are like. Or, you could go to the homepage of Trellis Earth and watch the video.
If I never see another plastic bag washed up on a beach, stuck in a chain link fence, way up on the tips of the highest branch of a tree - the world will be a better, and cleaner place.
The corn-based bags cost stores about 6 cents each, compared with 1 cent for the petroleum-based bags.
If communities won't go for an all out ban on petroleum-based bags, there is another way to change consumer behavior really fast - grocery stores can start charging people for the plastic bags consumers use. I'd charge 6 cents per petroleum based bag, 1 cent for the corn ones.
And, while I'm at it, you know - If I Was President - I would establish a national bottle bill.
Here's the letter I sent the company:
I am busy writing a blogpost about your bags, and while doing so I was forced to think about my own relationship with plastic bags. The only time I routinely use plastic bags is for dog poo clean up while out on walks around my city. I looked through your inventory and saw that the only size bag you make that would fit the bill is not the right dimension for this job. I have a Newfoundland who leaves monster dumps, so it's important for me to have the right dimensions. Please consider making bags that are 6 inches wide by about 12 inches tall. I know many other eco-conscious dog owners like myself would be happy to buy and use them!