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In May 2012, Hawaii became the first state to ban plastic bags. The law specifically bans non-biodegradable plastic bags at checkout counters as well as paper bags that are not at least 40 percent recycled.
As a marine state, Hawaii is very exposed to the direct impacts of plastic pollution and the damage it does to the marine environment. Coastal states have an even greater responsibility to decrease plastic pollution due to the exponential growth of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
"Passing the bans did take an effort -- change always does -- but people seemed to understand the need for such an effort," Robert Harris, director of the Sierra Club's Hawaii chapter, told msnbc.com.*
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What is the only state in the USA to have banned plastic bags?
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Plastic bags are modern day tumbleweeds that can be seen floating in the sea and across the land. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a huge area of plastic litter floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is estimated to be twice the size of Texas. The Garbage Patch has not only grown 100 fold in 40 years, it has also changed the way some marine life reproduce.* Many states have considered banning plastic bags but supporters face extreme opposition from the plastics industry and big oil lobbyists.
What do you think are the barriers to banning plastic bags in your area? Please take the quiz and comment below.
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