and Styrofoam Ban
The North Carolina General Assembly recently passed Bill 1018, a ban on single-use plastic and non-recyclable paper bags in Hyde, Currituck and Dare counties. The intention of the ban is to protect the marine habitat of the Barrier Islands. Once the governor confirms the bill, the ban is scheduled to take effect on September 1, 2011.
A Wal-Mart executive welcomes the ban: “Wal-Mart has been a leader around the country in gradually removing plastic bags from our stores, and easing people in to reusable bags. We’re a corporate leader in the green movement.” But will the ban be effective? Only large retailers like Wal-Mart will have to remove the plastic option. It appears that tourism is often a culprit of beach-side littering. Bill 1018 states:
Inhabited barrier islands are visited by a high volume of tourists and therefore experience a high consumption of bags relative to their permanent population due to large numbers of purchases from restaurants, groceries, beach shops, and other retailers by the itinerant tourist population.Banning plastic bags from large stores such as Wal-Mart will not cut down plastic bag usage at most restaurants, smaller grocery stores and beach shops. It appears that the ban does not target the tourist population, but the average North Carolina resident who purchases necessities at large-chain retailers.
Another problem with the legislation occurring with North Carolina is the lack of research. The effects of the ban will remain unknown due to the fact that the North Carolina General Assembly has not contracted a formal land- or marine-based litter composition study to assess the impact of plastic bags on the environment. Further study should be done to ensure that Bill 1018 will be an effective and relevant use of state resources.
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