The amount of energy required to make 12 plastic shopping bags could drive a car for a mile. 

City, state, and national governments around the world are trying to limit plastic bag litter and waste with bans and fees. 

The oldest existing plastic bag tax is in Denmark, passed in 1993. Danes use very few light-weight single-use plastic bags: about 4 per person each year. 

At least 16 African countries have announced bans on certain types of plastic bags, to varying levels of effectiveness. Before a ban on thin bags—which tear readily and get caught by the wind—went into effect in 2003, plastic bags were christened South Africa’s “national flower” because of their prevalence in bushes and trees. Thicker bags are taxed.

Many European countries tax plastic bags or ban free distribution. The EU Parliament is discussing measures that could require member states to cut plastic bag use by 80 percent by 2019. A memo on the proposal noted that “plastic bags have been found in stomachs of several endangered marine species,” including various turtles and porpoises, and 94 percent of North Sea birds.  The provinces of Ontario and Quebec have each halved their plastic bag use through a variety of measures, including store incentives for using reusable bags and retailer-imposed fees. 

Livestock choking on plastic bags—from camels in the United Arab Emirates to sheep in Mauritania and cattle in India and Texas—have led communities to consider regulation. 

Coles Bay (Tasmania) became Australia’s first town to forgo plastic bags in 2003. Motivated by a desire to protect whales from bag litter as they passed by on their annual migration and to keep the National Park clean, all the retailers agreed to stop providing plastic bags. The rest of the state of Tasmania banned very thin plastic bags in 2013. South Australia was the first state to ban plastic bags, starting in 2009. A 2012 study found that ban effective, with customers bringing their own bags more often. Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory followed with their own plastic bag bans in 2011. While Australia’s four other states do not ban the bag, several cities and towns have initiated voluntary bans.

The City of Port Phillip's new strategy the 'Waste and Resource Recovery strategy 2009-2014' will guide the provision of services and the coordination of litter and waste education programs undertaken by the council over the next 5 years. At Coles supermarkets there are collection points (bins) where you can deposit your used plastic bags and they get recycled.