Jay Parkhill January 9th, 2008
The government of China just announced a ban on the “production, sale and use” of plastic shopping bags- the “standard” kind that get used once and then pile up in landfills and kitchen drawers everywhere. Shops are permitted to sell them, but not allowed to fold the price into the cost of goods- i.e. mark everything up slightly in order to give the bags away free. This sounds like a tricky piece to enforce and it is noted that implementing regulations are being worked out.
Even more interesting is the prohibition on “use”. The government’s statement says the bags are not allowed in “passenger trains, vessels, buses, planes, stations, airports and scenic spots”. Does this mean that citizens aren’t allowed to carry them at all or just that vendors aren’t allowed to hand them out? It’s unclear.
Either way, there’s a great business proposition for messenger/urban professional bag maker Timbuk2. That company developed a process for partially melting thin plastic bags to make thick messenger style ones, only to get slapped with a cease-and-desist letter from Target for using its logo without authorization.
It isn’t like there’s any lack of plastic bag stock, but if Timbuk2 ever needed to find a ready source of trademark-worry-free bags, I’m pretty sure China’s new rules will give them more raw material than they could ever figure out what to do with.
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