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This is a plastic bag.

August 21, 2007

Like the rest of the world, Israel has been inundated with plastic bags. The effect of this is apparent everywhere you go: Plastic bags flying through the air with gusts of wind, caught in fences like tumbleweed (only uglier), floating in the sea at the beach (nope, not a jellyfish)… are among our most familiar sightings. Culturally, its pretty hard to escape the plastic bag. Go to the corner store for a quart of milk and leave with a quart of milk in a plastic bag.

We’ve mentioned before a few of our strategies for reducing our plastic bag consumption. But we are also curious about what might happen if more proactive approaches were taken here to curtail plastic bag use.

Fitting with the uber-trendy green scene of America and the UK, the plastic bag is now becoming taboo thanks to projects like Anya Hindmarch’s I’m Not a Plastic Bag.

In Israel, the ShuferSol grocery store chain has begun selling “Green Bags” for 3 shekels each. While less fashion-forward, the price is definitely right and we’ve seen a lot of people putting them to good use.

But what really fascinates us is the work being done in Africa to end the plastic bag phenomenon that has gotten completely out of hand.

In Rwanda and Eritrea, plastic bags have been banned outright. In South Africa, Uganda, and Kenya rules about bag thickness have been introduced.

The result is not a monumental economic crisis. Rather, it has created cleaner streets, healthier environments, and more beautiful landscapes.

Sounds good to us.

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