Where a plastic bag can get you jailed: The countries getting tough on carriers

More than 40 countries across the world have taken action to reduce their usage of single-use plastic bags.

From Denmark to China to Rwanda, there are bans and charges in place - and in Kenya, you can even be jailed for using plastic bags. 

Here in New Zealand some of our supermarkets are now removing plastic bags from checkouts, but our government hasn't made any such measures compulsory.

Who has had the most success worldwide? Arguably, that award goes to Ireland, which put a mandatory charge in place in 2002, equivalent to roughly 24 cents.

The charge led to consumption rates plummeting 95 per cent, while 90 per cent of customers switched to reusable bags. This equated to average usage drop from 328 bags used per year to 21.

The levy was not a new idea when Ireland adopted it – Denmark has had one since 1998. Consumption of plastic and paper bags reportedly declined 66 per cent as a result. However, when the charge failed to keep up with inflation, consumption rates reportedly crept back back up.

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