Italy institutes nationwide ban on plastic bags
As of January 1, Italy became the first country in Europe to ban the plastic bag outright. The motion stems from a global movement to curb excessive usage by prohibiting stores from providing customers with free and unlimited polythene bags. According to Italy’s Environment League, Legambiente, citizens have been using more than 300 bags a year per capita; that’s nearly one fifth of Europe’s total usage. The one time-use nature of these bags also means that most of them become litter, environmental hazards, or fodder for landfills, where they can take up to 200 years to decompose. Legambiente estimates that Italy’s plastic bag ban will save more than 180,000 tons of oil and a commensurate volume of carbon dioxide emissions, in addition to keeping dangerous plastic particles out of its land and water resources.
As Italian citizens adjust to the ideological shift, plastic bags will still be be supplied free of charge at shops until they run out, but customers now and in the future will be encouraged to use their own cloth or biodegradable bags.