In an effort to curb pollution and litter, the Chinese government has issued a ban on plastic bags, which went into effect June 1. Customers must now supply their own bags from home or pay a fee to get one, and shops found to be violating the ban will face a fine or risk having their goods confiscated. Given that China uses 37 million barrels of crude oil each year to manufacture plastic bags and produces up to three billion plastic bags a day, it's a smart eco-conscious move—and might even bolster China's reputation, which hasn't been doing too great with scandals every which way.
China now joins the roster of countries who have gone plastic-free, like Ireland, Uganda and South Africa. Earlier this year, San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to outlaw plastic bags, and Whole Foods also stopped offering plastic bags as of April. Here's hoping it becomes the next big trend—it's certainly one worth following. [via Slate]