Plastic bag bans around the world

South Australia joins an increasing number of countries that already restrict plastic shopping bags or plan to do so:

AFRICA: Rwanda and Eritrea banned the bags outright, as has Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia. South Africa, Uganda and Kenya have minimum thickness rules, and Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho and Tanzania are considering similar measures.

BANGLADESH: The first large country to ban bags in 2002. Bangladesh blamed millions of discarded bags for blocking drains and contributing to floods that submerged much of the country in 1988.

BHUTAN: The isolated Himalayan country banned plastic shopping bags, street advertising and tobacco in 2007, as part of its policy to foster "Gross National Happiness".

CHINA: The ban on ultra-thin bags that goes into force on June 1 will cut pollution and save valuable oil resources, the State Council, or cabinet, says. In May 2007 Hong Kong proposed a 50 cent "polluter pays" levy on plastic shopping bags.

ENGLAND: In May 2007 the village of Modbury in south Devon became Europe's first plastic bag-free town, selling reuseable and biodegradable bags instead. London's 33 councils plan to ban ultra-thin bags from 2009 and tax others.

FRANCE: In 2005, French lawmakers voted to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags by 2010. The French island of Corsica became the first to ban plastic bags in large stores in 1999.

INDIA: The western state of Maharashtra banned the manufacture, sale and use of plastic bags in August 2005, after claims that they choked drains during monsoon rains. Other states banned ultra-thin bags to cut pollution and deaths of cattle, sacred to Hindus, which eat them.

IRELAND: A plastic bag tax was passed in 2002. The tax created an initial 90 percent drop in bag use, according to the Environment Ministry, though usage gradually rebounded.

ITALY: Outright ban to be introduced from 2010.

TAIWAN: A partial ban in 2003 phased out free bags in department stores and supermarkets and disposable plastic plates, cups and cutlery from fast food outlets. Most stores charge people who don't bring their own T$1 ($0.03).

UNITED STATES: San Francisco became the first and only US city to outlaw plastic grocery bags in April 2008. The ban is limited to large supermarkets.

Source: Planet Ark, May 28, 2008