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12 Things Getting Banned in 2020

Say goodbye to plastic straws and boarding an airplane with your regular driver's license...

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These things will soon be coming to an end…

In 2020, when you walk into the grocery store, you’ll want to make sure you bring something along: your own bag. Plastic bags are increasingly being banned throughout the country in an attempt to become more sustainable and protect the environment. Even in areas where they aren’t banned, societal pressure and “cancel culture” (a form of boycotting that generally spreads through social media) have spurred people to forgo the once-ubiquitous plastic grocery bag on their own. Whether it’s legally prohibited, peer pressure, or a societal trend towards change, these are the things you can expect to effectively banned in 2020. You’ll also want to know the new laws that could affect you in 2020.

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Plastic bags

Remember those single-use plastic bags they used to give you to hold all your purchases at the grocery store? For the last few years, they’ve been outlawed in more progressive, environmentally conscious cities and states in an effort to become more sustainable and decrease pollution. In 2020, those plastic bags will become even harder to find. Some states, including New York and California, ban them outright, while other states charge a nominal fee for plastic bags. Kenya has the strictest plastic bag ban in the world: has it worked?

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Dolphin in blue wateralexxx1981/Getty Images

Dolphin swims

Dolphin swims used to be a popular attraction for cruise ship passengers, marine parks, and tropical resorts. People brought home pictures as in which the dolphin appeared to be happy and smiling. It turns out, those dolphins were not smiling. In fact, studies have shown that dolphin swims can cause extreme stress even psychological issues for these highly intelligent, gentle creatures. Soon, there will thankfully be fewer destinations that let tourists swim with dolphins. .In 2019, New Zealand banned bottlenose dolphin swims and the U.S. government is finalizing their proposal to ban swimming with spinner dolphins in Hawaii in 2020. Find out just what makes dolphins some of the smartest creatures on the planet.

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Empty Water Bottles close upartisteer/Getty Images

Single-use water bottles

Hydration is important. Consequently, single-use water bottles used to be everywhere but lately people are rethinking what they drink and opting for tap water over bottled water due to the environmental toll of single-use water bottles. Recently, San Fransisco International Airport has banned single-use plastic bottles and in 2020, New York City banned the use of single-use water bottles in city-owned and leased properties. This year, look for more businesses and government entities to follow suit as consumers increasingly reach for reusable water bottles over single-use plastic. If you’re ready to make the switch, here’s how often you should wash a reusable water bottle.

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Flavored E-cigarettes

Vaping and E-cigarettes are being used by our youth at higher rates than ever before. A disturbing trend since products like Juul can potentially cause lung cancer. In 2020, the FDA passed new enforcement policies to combat this trend banning flavors like mint and fruit, ordering that all sales of such products cease and the pods pulled from the market in recognition of the fact that such flavors were popular with children and teens. In addition, many places are debating whether or not it should be illegal to smoke e-cigarettes in public. Between legalized bans and the increasing focus on preventing teens from picking up the habit, there’s a good chance will see fewer people vaping and smoking e-cigarettes in 2020. These are the things that happen to your body when you stop vaping.

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A glass milk jug filled with organic almond milk. The drink is sitting in the middle of a raw almond pile.SageElyse/Getty Images

Almond milk

There’s a running gag in the series, The Good Place, that Chidi believes he’s been sent to the bad place due to his consumption of almond milk. As funny as this is, in real life, there’s a downside to almond milk people aren’t talking about. Not only do almonds put an increased strain on our overworked bee population but it takes an extraordinary amount of water to grow almonds. In other words, almonds are bad for the environment. Although, it is unlikely the government will ban almonds, as consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental toll of almond farming, expect them to turn to other non-dairy options in the future. After all, no one wants to end up in the bad place like Chidi.

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Judge gavel and stack of 100 dollar bills on wooden desktopgerenme/Getty Images

Cash bail

Cash bail is a controversial practice that keeps 540,000 people who haven’t been convicted of a crime in jail each year because they don’t have the funds or personal assets to post bail prior to their trial. Some of these people are accused of committing infractions as minor as driving without a license or shoplifting, Cash bail keeps the poor, poor since incarceration causes them to lose their jobs or even their housing. In January 2020, the state of New York banned cash bail for most nonviolent crimes joining states like California. The ban, however, does have its critics and was heavily opposed by certain factions of lawmakers and the police departments who claim the new regulations were too hasty.

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rack of clothes, close up, in a retail store. colored t-shirts on hangers.Instants/Getty Images

New clothes

Everyone’s wardrobe needs a refresh once in a while, but people are being increasingly aware that clothes are among the items they should buy used instead of new since second-hand clothes are cheaper and better for the environment. Gone are the days of wearing a dress once and retiring it to the back of the closet, too. Celebrities like Jane Fonda, Tiffany Haddish and Kate Middleton are making it a point to wear the same dresses to different events. Similarly, Joaquin Phoenix pledged to wear the same tuxedo to all award shows thin 2020 to lower his carbon footprint. And department stores including Nordstrom, Macy’s, and J.C. Penney are all re-selling used clothing. In addition to clothes, here are more things you should be buying at thrift stores.

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Macro shot of colorful plastic drinking strawskickers/Getty Images

Plastic straws

There are many reasons you should never sip from a plastic straw. The most frequently cited reason is the deadly effect plastic straws have on marine life and the environment. Plastic straws are disappearing from restaurants and have been banned in cities including Miami Beach and Seattle and the states of California and Hawaii, who will only provide plastic straws to customers who specifically request them. While some businesses are fighting the movement, still, more big companies are getting rid of plastic for good. In April 2020, England will ban plastic straws throughout the entire country, following the lead of Buckingham Palace.

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Airplane nose with open cabin doors and movable stairsVesnaandjic/Getty Images

Boarding a plane with a regular driver’s license

If you’ve got a flight scheduled in 2020 and you’re used to traveling with a regular driver’s license, there are some new air travel rules you need to know about. As airport security continues to get tighter, your driver’s license may not be enough for TSA. Starting October 1st, 2020, travelers will need to have an enhanced driver’s license, passport, military I.D. card or other acceptable forms of I.D. to pass through security and board an airplane. In addition to having compliant I.D., these secrets to speeding through airport security are extremely helpful.

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collection of books randomly positioned as seen from aboveConstantinosZ/Getty Images


If you thought society had become too progressive to ban books, think again. Banned books are sadly, still a thing. Recently, in Missouri, a proposed bill will seek to jail librarians for lending “age-inappropriate” material to children, including Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, which addresses teen rape. This is unfortunately not an isolated circumstance and there are many books we bet you never knew were banned because they include books as innocuous as Dr. Suess titles and the dictionary.

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Group of important proteins, meats, fish, dairy, eggs, white meat on a white background, Shot from abovenehopelon/Getty Images

Meat and dairy

The 2020 Golden globes made headlines this year when it opted for an all-vegan menu to help spread awareness about climate change. And although meat and dairy won’t likely be legally banned any time soon, vegan diets are on the rise as people become increasingly interested in adopting eating habits that minimize their ecological footprint. As popular options like Impossible meat-free burgers make their way everywhere from Burger King to your neighborhood grocery store, expect to see less meat and dairy and more vegan options in 2020. This is what would happen if an entire country turned vegan.

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An abstract image of white Styrofoam coffee cups in a heap.PamWalker68/Getty Images


People have long been aware that styrofoam is one of the everyday items that take the longest to decompose. Styrofoam is already banned in states like Maine and New York. In 2020, the number of states that ban styrofoam could very well increase and cities like Chicago are said to be considering joining cities like Portland, Oregon by implementing a ban on styrofoam containers at restaurants. Avoiding styrofoam is one of the many ways you can go green without even noticing because it’s so easy.

Tamara Gane
Tamara Gane is a regular contributor to Reader's Digest covering travel, lifestyle, history, and culture. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, NPR, Al Jazeera, Wine Enthusiast, Lonely Planet, HuffPost Food, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @TamaraGane

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