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Plastaxes, Redux

Good news regarding China's month-old plan to charge a tax on the use of plastic bags in stores. From Yale Enviro 360

A month after its inception, China’s ban on free plastic bags and on the production and sale of ultra-thin plastic bags has already effected dramatic change, according to the Worldwatch Institute’s China Program. Plastic bag use has halved in Guangzhou supermarkets since the June 1 crackdown, while some Beijing markets are using a mere tenth of the bags they were before the ban. Though some reports indicated that enforcement might be difficult, the government has already fined at least one shopkeeper the maximum allowable sum of $1,200, demonstrating its seriousness on this issue. The ban, which was motivated by concerns about energy security as well as the environment, is expected to help reduce the 37 million barrels of oil China uses on plastic packaging annually.

I blogged optimistically about the plan last month, and the gatekeepers over at the Weekly Standard really dinged me on the issue of just how many barrels of oil China squandered on plastic bag production. Mind you, goon Richard Starr offered no affirmative argumentation for continued plastic bag use (and its oil-consuming production and devastating ecological side effects), nor a response to the discussion of the success  of "plastaxes" in places like Ireland and San Francisco--just thumb-to-nose triumphalism about a typing error. But I'll take the environmental benefits that have accrued in the last month over their pity party any time.

--Dayo Olopade