Modbury in England gained fame as the first comunity to ban plastic bags in 2007. "Request a plastic bag these days in Modbury and you will be asked politely if you really need one, and if you absolutely do, you will be charged 5p for a corn-starch alternative. "
And there are plenty of places that have followed suit, from Hong Kong to the entire country of China, to enlightened cities in the US like San Francisco and Seattle.
As the anti-plastic bag movement gains momentum, here's an interesting note of dissent, amazingly enough from an organic farmer's market. Turns out that one farmer (whose trucks run on recycled grease, no less,) decided to charge for plastic bags. 25c no less. This seems to have enraged several of the otherwise environmentally conscious, no doubt affluent clientèle; from the Chicago Tribune:
But as wildly popular as Henry Brockman [and his operation [at the Evanston Farmer's market] might be, there was one thing that drove the environmentally friendly farmer nuts. It was the plastic bags. He would hang them up in bunches, the wispy-thin grocery store jobs, and people would grab them up as if they were nothing, stuffing their beans in one, their zucchini in another and so on.
"That just grated on my nerves from the beginning," he said. "I'm an organic farmer, and here I am buying all these plastic bags and handing them out willy-nilly."
His business was slipping more than 30,000 petroleum-based plastic bags into the environment a year, and Brockman's conscience could no longer tolerate the hypocrisy
Brockman got an e-mail from Chicago attorney and longtime customer Joan Ferraro: "While I admire your dedication to trying to change the environment for the better, I have to tell you I find your plastic bag policy offensive. You are in the business of selling produce. If you don't provide something for the people to take your produce home with, you are not good businesspeople [sic]."
Apparently being able to write coherently is not a pre-requisite for an attorney. Another customer threw her vegetables onto the counter on being informed of the charge. If supposedly "green", probably affluent customers like these would balk at being charged for plastic bags, is it any wonder that a ban is the only way to go?