Effective Jan. 1, Italy will join the growing list of countries, states, and municipalities around the world that have banned plastic bags. This report from Reuters on the new plastics bag ban predicts "chaos". Turin and Venice had already instituted their own ban on plastic bags:
Italian critics say polyethylene bags use too much oil to produce, take too long to break down, clog drains and easily spread to become eye sores and environmental hazards.
Italians use about 20 billion bags a year -- more than 330 per person -- or about one-fifth of the total used in Europe, according to Italian environmentalist lobby Legambiente.
Starting on Saturday, retailers are banned from providing shoppers polyethylene bags. They can use bags made of such material as biodegradable plastic, cloth or paper.