UC Law Environmental Journal


Allyssa Rose


The single-use plastic bag has become a prolific symbol of plastic pollution across the world. These convenient, lightweight bags may clog drainage systems or become a lethal snack for animals when not recycled properly. Due to the social and environmental harms caused by these bags, countries across the world have implemented legislation to tax plastic bags, or in some cases, ban their use all together. This paper seeks to identify the difference in approaches used by the Global North and Global South to determine the best approach for the United States to implement. Zealous advocacy on behalf of the plastics industry may explain why the United States has yet to enact a national plastic bag policy. While many state and local governments have addressed plastic pollution, the solution to plastic pollution in the United States will require a multifaceted national policy that encourages consumers to reduce their plastic use. By emulating successful legislative approaches from both the Global North and South, the United States will be able to join world leaders in the fight to reduce plastic pollution.