Like South Africa, Ireland, Taiwan, and Bangladesh, China has banned free plastic shopping bags. The flimsiest bags are banned outright, while merchants will be required to charge extra for the more study type. Go China!
Screw that scene in American Beauty – plastic bags are ugly litter, clog storm drains, and blow into waterways. At sea, 90% of the trash I see is plastic bags. They never biodegrade, strangle sea life (particularly endangered sea turtle that mistake them for jellyfish) and are a navigational hazard (picking shreds of bag out of the propellor is Not Fun).
Australia may be next to implement a plastic bag ban. Will the US be an environmental luddite on yet another issue? Probably, but write your elected representatives anyway!
Special bonus! Sing along with the Australian minister of the environment as he rocks out with Midnight Oil. I *heart* Peter Garrett.