Visiting the Emerald Isle for the very first time, and for a week, my wife and I made the capital city of Dublin our home base as we explored the city and took several day tours.
Just your usual unhealthy fast-food order - but lo and behold, no plastic bags for your takeout!
Ireland first slapped a tax on plastic bags in 2002 and usage dropped 90% within months. There are just no plastic bags to be seen anywhere.
Instead of the plastic bag you're used to getting in my home town of New York, you get a flimsy paper bag. Now that's fine for the food, but not ideal for carrying hot drinks back to the hotel.
And at the "convenience" store, whatever you buy, you haul out with your hands and arms - no bag is offered. Good luck carrying several bottles of water, milk, juice, potato chips, a cup of yogurt and a banana.
If you insist on having a bag, it will cost you 22 euro cents there. Call me cheap, but I was loathe to pay for something I'm used to getting for free.
Sure, there could be benefits to taxing plastic bags - the streets do look clean and same for the countryside. Maybe it's worth a bit of inconvenience, but that's debatable.
I missed the convenience of plastic bags. And don't get me started on the napkin situation. Restaurants were very sparing with the napkins, making a messy eater like me look even worse. At a local Burger King, there was a half-joking sign that said that if you took more than 10 napkins, you were a thief!
In August, Mexico City became the latest major metropolis to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags from the retail sector.
In most of the US, many feel it is our God-given right to get a free plastic bag with our purchase - whatever it is!
But then again, we also thought it was our divine right to drive gas-guzzling SUVs fueled with $1/gal gasoline.
Photo credit: Yvonne Chang