02 February 2008

A followup on witches knickers


Several weeks ago in this blog I posted a rant about plastic bags getting loose in the environment. Today I'm pleased to offer information from a New York Times article:
In 2002, Ireland assessed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register... Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags.... Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable — on a par with ... not cleaning up after one’s dog.
As usual, there is a long discussion of this article at Reddit. I'm delighted that plastic bags have virtually disappeared from Ireland [from whence the term "witches knickers" originated], although my libertarian instincts cringe a little at a paragraph later in the article:
Ireland has moved on with the tax concept, proposing similar taxes on customers for A.T.M. receipts and chewing gum. (The sidewalks of Dublin are dotted with old wads.)... This year, the government plans to ban conventional light bulbs, making only low-energy, long-life fluorescent bulbs available.
It's getting close to that "no food for fat people" policy I bemoaned last night. Sometimes it is hard to know where to draw the line between good intentions and intrusive government.

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