Japan Struggles With New Plastic Bag Policy

Read the full story at Treehugger.

Starting this past July, Japan began charging for single-use plastic bags in stores across the country. The move, intended to curb plastic usage and reduce pollution, has been hailed as a good step in the right direction. Tokyo’s three largest convenience stores have seen the use of plastic bags drop by 75% and one major supermarket, Akidai Sekimachi Honten, has seen an 80% reduction.

Despite this impressive adoption rate, not everyone is as happy as you might expect. Store owners who thought they’d save money by not having to provide plastic bags are now saying there’s been a spike in shoplifting, since people can more easily hide stolen items in their reusable shopping bags than they would if they relied on a single-use plastic bag to carry it out of the store.

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