Archive for July 19th, 2010

A Tax on Plastic Shopping Bags

 

No matter how environmentally savvy we are, at one point in our lives we have used a plastic shopping bag. Sometimes we reuse the bags, (I use them as trash can liners for smaller trash cans) but most often they end up in landfills. It’s become something you do without thought…you buy groceries and you carry them home in a plastic bag. But the way we think of these disposable bags could change if Georgia joins thirteen others states considering establishing a tax on plastic shopping bags.   

Currently Washington, D.C. is the only US city to successfully institute such a tax. In the first month the 5-cent tax brought in about $150,000 and nearly $1 million since January. Although the revenue brings in much- needed funds to the city, the most interesting statistic that has evolved is that plastic bag usage is down from 22.5 million bags per month in 2009 to only 3 million bags during the first month of the tax.

 Skip Bag Save River Logo

 So how does the tax work?  Every retailer that sells food or alcohol is required to charge a 5-cent fee per disposable paper or plastic bag. The business keeps 1 cent, or 2 cents if it offers a rebate when you bring your own shopping bag. The remaining proceeds (3 or 4 cents) are sent to the Anacostia River Protection Fund to provide reusable bags, education and environmental clean-ups.

Please share your thoughts on this issue? Would a 5-cent tax on disposable shopping bags move you to bring reusable bags? Knowing the benefit to the environment would you support such a tax? 

 Thanks to ABC news for sharing this story.