Up to ban

Several efforts to reduce reliance on plastic products are under way throughout the United States.

Waste and Recycling News reported last week that Hawaii is the latest place to pass an ordinance to charge a fee for one-time use plastic bags.

“Under the new ordinance, all businesses, including grocery stores, restaurants, farmers’ markets and other retailers must charge a fee for single-use plastic carryout bags,” the report states. “Plastic bags used for bulk items such as meat, fish, nuts, grains, fresh produce, small hardware, clothing and prescription drugs are exempt from the law, according to the county of Hawaii website.”

The ordinance went into effect on Jan. 17, and by Jan. 17, 2014, single-use plastic bags will be banned completely.

Meanwhile, a plastic water bottle ban has begun in Concord, Mass. The ban was the result of a three-year campaign by local advocacy groups.

“It shall be unlawful to sell non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less in the Town of Concord on or after January 1, 2013,” according to the town of Concord’s website. An exception was made for water needed in emergency situations. But according to the Huffington Post, some businesses have found loopholes in the new law by selling larger bottles.

Reno has its own effort called the Reno Plastic Bag Ban (“Bag lady,” Nov. 22), which seeks to encourage alternative options to plastic bags, but no laws have been set in the region. A map of plastic bag bans throughout the U.S. can be found below. California has more than a dozen. Nevada has none.