Italians use about 20 billion of those plastic bags a year (about one-fifth of all European use) and they are non-biodegradable. The new law took effect on January 1. Stores are only allowed to give out plastic bags till they run out, and then must use either paper, biodegradeable plastic or cloth bags. There have been similar restrictions on the bags in about 200 Italian communities but now the ban is nationwide.
Other countries, such as China, Ireland and the UK charge 5 cents per plastic bag. Cities across the world, such as Mexico City, San Fransisco and Edmonds, Washington, have also outlawed plastic bags.
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