Hawaii: no plastic bags in the state

The Hawaiian Islands are preparing to ban plastic bags in its territory.

An estimated 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide, every year. Nearly 380 billion of those are consumed in the USA.

This time, all four of the populated counties in Hawaii have passed legislation banning plastic bags at checkout counters, making it the first state in the country to pass such a ban.

On the Big Island, the ban officially begins on the 17th January, 2014, at grocery stores, restaurants and retailers. Consumers can opt for paper bags or bring their own, reusable bags.

The islands of Kauai and Maui already enforce such a ban, with the most populated island, Oahu, set to join them in July of 2015.

Cities in England, Mexico, India, Burma, and Australia have also banned plastic bags from commercial spaces. In Bangladesh and Rwanda, plastic bags have been banned for years.

In Europe, 100 billion plastic bags have been placed on the market every year. This number amounts to every EU citizen using 198 plastic carrier bags per year.

"We're taking action to solve a very serious and highly visible environmental problem. Every year, more than eight billion plastic bags end up as litter in Europe, causing enormous environmental damage", says Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik.