The California Assembly approved a bill that would ban single-use plastic grocery bags, requiring shoppers to bring their own reusable bags or pay at least 5 cents each for recycled-paper bags at the checkout counter. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has indicated that he will sign the bill if it makes it through the Senate.... Environmentalists say the bags endanger marine life and are more likely to foul beaches than any other form of pollution. Californians use 19 billion such bags a year, or 552 per person, according to an Assembly analysis report.
Marine life is nice. Also, plastic shopping bags are made out of oil and now might be a good time to cut our consumption of that shit. How much oil can be saved? Lots:
In 2001, for example, Ireland was using 1.2 billion plastic bags annually, about 316 per person. In 2002, the Irish government imposed a plastic bag consumption tax (called a PlasTax), which has reduced consumption by 90 percent. The tax of $.15 per bag is paid by consumers when they check out at the store. Besides cutting back on litter, Ireland’s tax has saved approximately 18 million liters of oil.
Yes, yes: the amount of oil used to make plastic bags is pretty minimal when compared to the amount of oil used to make our cars go. But if we can't make the small, easy and obvious changes—like banning plastic bags—we'll never make the big ones.