I sent the following letter this morning via e-mail to my State Representatives. I would encourage you to read up on this issue and approach your State and Federal Legislature if you feel called to do so.
Each year the world consumes approximately 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags, over 380 billion of which are consumed annually here in the US (http://www.reusuablebags.com/facts.php ). While the convenience level is high, the detrimental rate at which these bags are consumed poses a big problem environmentally.
California state assemblyman Lloyd Levine has recently introduced a bill that was signed in to law requiring supermarkets and large stores to implement not only a recycling/take-back program, but to launch an educational campaign about the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling. Additionally, stores are to offer sturdy reusable bags (for sale) to help curb this ever growing trend. The text of the bill can be found at: http://www.legislature.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate?WAISdocID=70127420860+1+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve.
In light of the new political atmosphere that has enveloped Ohio, I wanted to encourage you, my representatives, to research this law that has been passed in California. Please look at the problematic usage of plastic bags, the over abundance of garbage streaming into our already over-taxed landfills, and the severe lack of community recycling programs in Ohio. Curbside recycling programs are one of the most effective tools to help consumers curb the amount of waste their families are producing.
Additionally - another sensible approach to this problem is to model a tax (I know, a dirty word), after Ireland's extremely successful PlasTax. In cooperation with retailers, the Irish government introduced PlasTax last year that has slashed consumption over 90% and raised $9.6 million for environmental and waste management projects. Another benefit is that stores save money on bag purchases and improve their public image. For example, Superquinn, one of the largest Irish grocery chains, says the number of bags it distributes for free has dropped by 97.5%
Thank you for your time and your consideration of this issue. I realize it may seem trivial in the grand scheme of Government today, but if we have no planet to live on, there's nothing to govern.