I just read the article “Paper or plastic? Maybe neither:” in the Washington Post on Saturday, January 2. Washington D.C. now has a user fee on plastic and paper bags at stores that sell food and/or alcohol. If you need a bag from the store you will be charged five cents. It is one of the toughest measures in the country. But they hope to produce large revenue to help clean up the Anacostia River, where 21% of the pollution is plastic bags.
I have been using reuseable bags now for over two years. And I was encouraged to see that Target now gives five cents back when you use your own bags. Grocery stores have also been trying to use positive measures to get people to use their own bags, however I don’t think a large percentage of people are taking advantage.
I know it would be very controversial to have such a tax, but when I drive down a road like Midlothian Turnpike and see many plastic bags on the side of the road (usually across from Walmart), I think we need to do something more.
Here are some interesting sites to learn more: