Norway’s Environment and International Development Minister, Erik Solheim, said that the country is considering a blanket ban on plastic bags, according to reports from EarthTimes.
In a recent interview conducted by NRK, Solheim said: “In China they ban plastic bags, Ireland has introduced a fee on bags and in Australia there are discussions about a ban.”
Solheim said there are plenty of alternatives to plastic bags including cloth bags and net bags.
Jarle Hammerstad, a spokesperson from the Federation of Norwegian Commercial and Service Enterprises (HSH) was less enthusiastic about the idea. Hammerstad said that before any bans went into place, the government should consult consumers and be sure of having a strong case.
“Plastic bags have many uses in a normal household,” Hammerstad said.
Instead of eliminating bags, Hammerstad suggested that the minister think about recycling programmes or the introduction of more environmentally friendly bags.
According to Solheim, a ban on bags would have a minimal impact on people who are used to adjusting to new technology. He felt that anyone who is capable of mastering mobile phones should be able to live without plastic bags.
According to environmental groups there are an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion bags used across the globe every year.
“Every time we use a new plastic bag they go and get more petroleum from the Middle East and bring it over in tankers,” said Stephanie Barger, executive director of Earth Resource Foundation in Costa Mesa, California. “We are extracting and destroying the Earth to use a plastic bag for 10 minutes.”