Documentation:Open Case Studies/Political Science/Regional2

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recycling disposeable bags into reusable ones

Decrease the number of disposable plastic bags to zero in three years, by ending the sale of disposeable bags and recycle circulating ones into reusable ones.


Grocery stores in British Columbia continue to offer plastic bags to customers, despite the environmental costs. Although plastic bags do cost about 5 cents per bag, that is not enough of a deterrent for customers to stop purchasing them. As such, the provincial government has to create more of an incentive for customers to switch to reusable bags over time. Moreover, there needs to be an awareness campaign to encourage people to choose reusable bags over plastic bags.

Action Plan

  1. Government would progressively increase the price of plastic bags to $0.75 each over 3 years before incrasing at 2.5% per year. The revenue from the plastic tax, to set up plastic bag collection and recycling programs.
  2. Plastic bags would be cleaned, cut, and turned into thread to be woven into re-usable bags.
  3. The plastic tax would be applied 70/40 retailer/consumer, and the re-usable bags would be sold to retailers at at par to the plastic tax. Final sale price of the recycled bag would be capped at $1.50 before sals tax.
  4. Advertising campaigns to increase awareness about impacts of using plastic bags versus recyclable and re-useable bags. This would include provincial art installation grants, bilboards, bus decals, sponsored posts online, and classical advertising media.
  5. Gathering plastic bags and recycling them into woven reusable plastic bags over 3 years. These would be sold in grocery stores on par for disposable bags.
  6. At the end of the three year period, a plastic bag buyback-recycling program would be initiated to remove remaining bags from circulation.


While the premise of this action plan will be met with broad notional support, we anticipate strong public and business pushback in the one to two year run. This will occur as a response to a percieved unjust extraction of tax dollars from consumers because of a dramatic rise in the cost of unchanged shopping habits. While true, it is precisely the shopping habits which are intended to change. Business pushback will come in the form of lobbying and arguments that the government is harming citizen's jobs, as BC has 12 plastic bag manufacturers, and that this tax may hurt small grocer's bottom line due to the application of the plastic tax. These consequenes can be largely mitigated with adequate public education of proposed progressive plastic tax breaks for small businesses, and by framing government eco-advertising campaigns to collective responsibility with an individualist approach. This action plan is intended to create a situation in which individualizattion of responsibility is not spoiled by institutions and businesses, but assisted by it.


This action wile likely be lauded by other political institutions for its progressive nature, but may face consequences for international trade relations in the short run. This is because this initiative does not necessitate international trade, and in the short run will likely hinder it, As Canada is an importer of plastic bags. However, if this initiative is effectively scalable, then it could be possible to industrialize plastic bag recycling, and support international trade.


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Remaining Challenges

(Erase this text: What are some remaining challenges to your action plan? What does it fail to address? How can you mitigate shortcomings?)