Legislation

San Francisco Targets Plastic Bottles

On Friday, an article on the Huffington Post revealed that the city of San Francisco, California -- already an eco-conscious city for its regulation of plastic grocery bags -- is currently looking to add plastic water bottles to its list of environmental taboos through a new ordinance designed to limit their use. Fenit Nirappil, contributor to the Huffington Post, writes that this new ordinance would encourage the use of reusable bottles through the installation of new taps fitted for the purpose of refilling bottles. Nirappil writes that:

Toronto Stores Disregard Abolished Bag Fee, Continue to Charge for Plastic Bags

Recently, Toronto Mayor Tom Ford has abolished the previous government's fee on plastic bags at supermarket checkouts, insisting that it was a tax on consumers that was unnecesary. While no longer required by law to charge a fee for plastic bags, many Toronto stores have continued to do so -- a gesture which has frustrated the Mayor. Retailers such as Loblaws and Metro are upholding their 5 cent bag fee, and say that they are planning to donate the money collected from the fee to charities. According to the article by Vidya Kauri in the National Post:

California Bag Ban Passes in Senate

A committee in the California Senate approved a bill today outlining a ban ban which would affect the distribution of plastic bags throughout the state. According to Plastics News, Assembly Bill 298 passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee with a 5-2 vote, and takes effect on January 1st, 2014. The article states, however, that

Seattle Bag Ban in Effect July 1st

Seattle has voted to implement a plastic bag ban, which is going into effect on the 1st of July, 2012. The ban encompasses bags distributed at supermarket checkouts, however it does not extend to bags from dry cleaning, produce, flowers, newspapers, or similar plastic products. According to an article by Vanessa Ho:

UK Treasury Denies PM, Blocks Bag Legislation

Despite pressure from the United Kingdom's Prime Minister, David Cameron, the Treasury has blocked a recent attempt to impose a fee on plastic bags. They are thought to have done this due to increasing pressure from shoppers, who have already been subject to a number of new taxes recently. According to Matt Chorley, the author of the article:

Scotland Plans 5p Plastic Bag Tax

The Scottish Government is currently discussing plans to institute a 5p bag tax for plastic carrier bags dispensed in stores, according to an article on the BBC yesterday. The article suggests that the plans are being debated as part of a three month consultation proposed by the Scottish National Party, and have taken into consideration a successful fee imposed by Wales in October, leading to a substantial decrease in plastic bag use. The article cites a few of the most outspoken defenders of the fee:

FDA Considers Ban on BPA in Infant Formula Containers

After months of battling with the United States Food and Drug Administration to ban the chemical bisphenol-A, a member of the House of Representatives has discovered a new tactic in lobbying the FDA which has been met with promising results. According to Dina ElBoghdady of the Washington Post, Representative Edward Markey (D- Mass.) has taken a different approach to requesting action from the FDA, calling upon a clause which allows people to petition for a ban of a particular substance if evidence can be shown that a majority of suppliers have stopped using the substance already.

Bulgaria Cracks Down on Plastic Bag Use

In an article published today through Bulgaria's Sofia News Agency, it was announced that the Bulgarian government has imposed a higher fee for the usage of plastic bags in an effort to slow their usage. According to Novinite.com, the Bulgarian cabinet voted today to raise the fee for plastic bags from BGN 0.15 to BGN 0.35, with an aim to reach BGN 0.55 by the year 2014.

FDA's Decision on BPA Exposes Catch 22

In a piece published by Scientific American on Monday, scientists Frederick S. vom Saal and Patricia A. Hunt discuss their research on the effects bisphenol-A can have on the body, and the United States Food and Drug Administration's descision to classify BPA as harmless to humans. According to vom Saal and Hunt, there have been hundreds of peer reviewed studies which have proved the detrimental effects of bisphenol-A, a number of which they have personally contributed to.

Retailers in India Pleased With Plastic Bag Tax

Retailers in Hyderabad, India, have been very pleased with a recent tax placed on plastic bags. An article on The Times of India reports that the tax, while initially established to support solid waste management efforts by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), is often ambiguously allocated, and frequently pocketed by retailers instead. The article suggests that plastic carrier bags are being priced deliberately at higher rates than they are worth, allowing stores to profit from the extra revenue.

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