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Two stories of interest…

• The Washington Post reports that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has proposed the banning of plastic packaging in that country as she gave “a wide-ranging speech on the environment that sought to burnish her green bona fides.” May, the story says, “focused part of her speech on the ‘scourge’ of plastics and pledged to eliminate what she called ‘all avoidable’ plastic waste by 2042.”

“In years to come I think people will be shocked at how today we allow so much plastic to be produced needlessly,” May said in what the Post says was “the first major environmental speech by a sitting British prime minister in 14 years.”

The story notes that “opposition politicians said the plan was a cynical ploy to try to lure young, eco-conscious voters to the Conservative Party, many of whom voted for Labour in the last general election. Polling commissioned by Bright Blue, a center-right think tank, found that climate change was the top policy issue for those aged 18 to 28.”

• The New York Times reports on how a legislatively mandated switch to biodegradable and compostable bags from plastic bags in Italy has become a hot political football. Here’s how the Times frames the story:

“Acting under a 2015 European Union directive addressing the global disaster caused by plastic bags, which take hundreds of years to degrade, Italian lawmakers enacted a measure banning the use of plastic bags for fruit, vegetables and baked goods in favor of eco-friendly biodegradable and compostable alternatives.

“The government was firm on one point: The new bags could not be given out for free, and the charge of 1 euro cent to 3 euro cents per eco-friendly bag had to appear on the sales bill. Failure to charge consumers would result in a fine for the retailer.

“But since the law went into effect on Jan. 1, it has been met with a flood of protests in grocery stores and supermarkets throughout Italy, as well as on social media … Opposition leaders indignantly accused the government of weighing down Italian households with yet another fiscal imposition. And environmental activists criticized its execution.”

National elections are scheduled for March 4. In one way or another, plastic appears to be on the ballot.
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