The New York Times reports that a mere 33-cent tax on plastic shopping bags in Ireland has reduced use by 94%. Apparently it’s more of a social sanction than an actual financial hardship – using plastic bags has become tacky. I wonder if this holds for all segments of Irish society.
The only faint stirring of this kind of social pressure in the US has been the designer “I’m Not a Plastic Bag” obsession last year. People waited in line for hours to buy this $15 canvas bag by some extremely important bag designer. The bag in question spawned a bunch of responses, including bag emblazoned with “I’m Not a Plastic Bag, Either” and “I’m Not a Smug Twat.”
Clearly, the New York model is ridiculous, especially since I bet the above bag is SO last season by now. But reusable bags don’t have to be snooty – Trader Joe’s sells perfectly excellent bags for 99 cents. Do you think that the US would ever pass a plastic bag tax? Would lobbying for one cause Americans to perceive environmentalism as yet more out-of-touch silliness from rich white people?