This is what Bangkok also needs a rethink and take China's lead:
China bans free plastic shopping bags
The Associated PressPublished: January 9, 2008
BEIJING: China will ban shops from giving out free plastic bags and has called on consumers to use baskets and cloth sacks instead to reduce environmental pollution.
The regulation, effective in June, was decided on about 15 years after shopkeepers started handing out cheap, flimsy plastic bags to customers. "White pollution," a reference to the color of many bags, has cluttered landfills.
"Our country consumes a huge amount of plastic shopping bags each year," said the State Council, China's cabinet. "While plastic shopping bags provide convenience to consumers, this has caused a serious waste of energy and resources and environmental pollution because of excessive usage, inadequate recycling and other reasons."
The regulation is part of Beijing's increased efforts to fight the pollution that has accompanied breakneck economic growth. As factories churn out low-cost products for the world's consumers, they have severely fouled the country's air and water.
Beginning on June 1, all supermarkets, department stores and shops will be prohibited from giving out free plastic bags, the State Council said. Stores must clearly mark the price of plastic shopping bags and are banned from tacking that price onto products.
The production, sale and use of ultra-thin plastic bags - those less than 0.025 millimeters, or 0.00098 inches, thick - were also banned, according to the State Council notice. Dated Dec. 31 and posted on a government Web site Tuesday, it called for "a return to cloth bags and shopping baskets."
It also urged waste collectors to step up recycling efforts to reduce the amount of bags burned or buried. Finance authorities were told to consider tax measures to discourage plastic bag production and sale.
Internationally, legislation to discourage plastic bag use has been passed in parts of South Africa, Ireland and Taiwan, where authorities either tax shoppers who use them or impose fees on companies that distribute them. Bangladesh already bans them, as do at least 30 remote Alaskan villages.
Last year, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban petroleum-based plastic grocery bags.