Plastic Bag Tax

Plastic Bag Tax

According to the Washington Post, Washington DC’s 5 cent tax on plastic bags, instated in January, has already dropped the number of plastic bags handed out by food stores from an average of 22.5 million per month in 2009 to just 3 million in January! What a huge difference! And, the tax not only significantly reduces plastic waste, it has also generated $150,000 in revenue.

Who charges this tax? Bakeries, delicatessens, grocery stores, drugstores, convenience stores, department stores and any other “business that sells food items” must charge the tax on paper or plastic bags. And many stores give a 5 cent credit to anyone bringing their own bags.

I love this–I really do. A simple 5 cent tax–with revenues going towards an environmental cause voters rallied around–and consumer behavior is changed for the better in a truly big way. I love that just 5 cents is enough to make consumers reconsider taking a plastic bag.

The results are nothing short of miraculous so far–there are 19 million less plastic bags in a landfill because of this tax!

Is this new? Here maybe. But, San Francisco, Los Angeles, China, Tanzania, Mumbai, Mexico City and others have already implemented bans or fees for plastic bags.

I am thrilled. I think plastic bags should be outlawed. Not that paper bags take any less energy to produce or don’t harm the environment, but they at least degrade and are not choking and suffocating wildlife.

I suggest reusable bags and the ones I love and always carry I received as a gift. They came from Envirosax.  Thank you, Carolyn.

Whatever you choose to use, please, No More Plastic Bags!

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4 Comments

  1. Hear, hear. I love that. And I’m doing what I can. I refused a plastic bag the other day at a drug store and commented how horrible they are on the environment.

    As I was getting into my car, I noticed that the man who had been waiting behind me to pay was carrying his purchase without a bag. The cashiers always bag without asking. I think he may have said, “no” to a bag because of my comment. Made me feel great.

    Saving wildlife, one plastic bag at a time..

  2. Ban the bags!

    I was recently in a small town on the coast in West Australia called Exmouth. The town lives off of tourism that comes for one thing – the crystal blue, warm Coral Coast. They are famous for their whale sharks. Plastic bags are not given out for any price in any shop in town. If you find yourself as a tourist (or a local) without a bag they will sell you a canvas bag for $1. These people are sensible, the irritation of a few people over paying for a bag is far outweighed by all the tourists who don’t have to watch whales choking to death.

    Unfortunately most of the world doesn’t have to see the real cost of plastic bags and so they worry about “convenience”. They’re wrong, Exmouth is right.

  3. Oh, my gosh. I so agree. It is tragic the way people buy water in plastic bottles and toss them without thinking about it. Rule at our home and office is, only reusable bottles for drinking. No paper, no styrofoam, no plastic. None.

  4. We use reusable bags when shopping. Seattle tried to pass a 5 cent tax on all plastic bags but it was voted down. I wish the legislature would pass a law to outlaw all plastic bags and require you to recycle all plastic bottles.

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