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Italy has become the latest in a long list of geographic regions around the world to ban plastic shopping bags. According to Reuters: "Italians use about 20 billion bags a year—more than 330 per person—or about one-fifth of the total used in Europe, according to Italian environmentalist lobby Legambiente." The ban takes effect January 1st—a deadline that's left retailers scrambling for plastic replacements. "Shops and shoppers seem prepared. The mid-size Billa supermarket on Milan's bustling Via Torino is ready with white biodegradable bags costing 10 euro cents, twice the price for existing yellow plastic bags, Billa manager Aldo Vismara said. "We will have them at the check-out from January 1, 2011, and we will replace the yellow ones," he said. On the downside of the shift, Vismara said there was the possibility the white bag could disintegrate in the rain." [Reuters]