Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

That was a wrong decision: rather than imposing a small fee, they should have banned the sale of non-biodegradable bags altogether.

Italy is doing so since 2011, and it seems to be working just fine.

> rather than imposing a small fee, they should have banned the sale of non-biodegradable bags altogether

Fines allow businesses to judge the merits (and timeline) of shifting according to their needs. Bans force everyone to shift simultaneously. Ceteris paribus, bans promote incumbents while taxes facilitate new entrants. (TL; DR Britain versus Italy's economy.)

A ban is effectively an infinite fee.

A small fee seems like a good halfway point between having no fee and an infinite fee.

> A ban is effectively an infinite fee

It’s the probability of getting caught times the cost of the punishment. That’s the other problem with a ban. “Probability of getting caught” being a cost center, authorities prefer giant fines with low enforcement costs; this results in a system favouring the politically connected.

I spent some time in Argentina last year and discovered the hard way that you must buy your own bags and that the only bags available where I was were canvas. Still, they were only a few pesos and proved durable. No complaints in the shift to bringing your own bag or buying one that is actually useful. The "bag for life" bags in the UK by contrast aren't that great.

Tesco used biodegradable bags but they weren't lasting long compared to the original bags. They couldn't be used for much because they started falling apart within weeks.

> they started falling apart within weeks

isn't that kind of the point?

At least they're biodegradable though? Plastic isn't really.

What is plastic? PE, PTFE,

There are microorganisms that eat certain polymers (PE), but I don't think anything will ever eat PTFE (teflon)

I'd bet that switching away from teflon frying pans you'll help the environment more than getting rid of a life time of PE bags. F chemistry is super nasty

I bet you won’t. The amount of PTFE consumed by the typical person is minuscule compared to the amount of PE they use. People buy Teflon pans maybe once every decade. They buy more PE with a single bottle of soda.

For that matter, most people probably have more PTFE in their plumbing than stored in their kitchen cabinets.

Plastic breaks down in oxygen and UV light. The problem is people keep burying them.

Well, they break down into small pieces that everything ingests.

Last time i was in Italy, I got charged for a bag, so they're still also doing that it seems.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact