Bag the bags. Well, apparently it's happening on Maui and the Big Island, as both county councils recently passed bills banning all plastic checkout bags for all businesses. The only bad news on Maui is that this ban doesn't go into effect until early 2011, which seems a long time for businesses to prepare, but at least one can visualize the days when leaves, hats, and bad toupees are the only thing blowing across the islands. The Big Island said stuff the plastic stuff by the end of 2009, which is even better.
But here's the real key. Consumers, you need to start bringing your own bags into the stores for your purchases. Paper isn't much better than plastic, and it's really not very good for wet stuff, but you can often re-use those bags, or better yet- bring your own cloth bags to the grocery store and elsewhere. Leave 'em in your trunk after you unpack- that way you won't forget the bags.