Washington, D.C. to Charge Fee for Plastic Shopping Bags
According to Breitbart, residents of the U.S. capitol are going to have to ante-up a little more change at the grocery check out if they chose plastic over paper. The capitol city is getting ready to add a five-cent levy on each plastic shopping bag issued at checkout.
The measure, which takes effect on January 1, 2010 and is the first such initiative in the United States, seeks to make consumers bear the brunt of clean up costs for the bags which currently are dispensed for free with a customer’s purchases.
“I signed this law in July to cut down on the disposable bags that foul our waterways,” said Mayor Adrian Fentyin a statement last month, noting that the city’s Anacostia River, has been particularly polluted by the plastic shopping bags.
Maureen McGowan, interim director of the city’s environment department says, “Our research shows that plastic bags are a major component of the trash in the Anacostia River.”
”By taking disposable bags out of production and out of the waste stream, everyone who goes to the store can help keep the waters clean,” McGowan said.
Mayor Fenty indicated that part of the money collected will be used for clean-up of the Anacostia.
“We want everyone to know that you can save the river, and five cents, if you bring your own reusable bag to the store instead,” the mayor said.
The new law requires that city businesses that sell food or alcohol must charge customers five cents for every disposable paper or plastic shopping bag. It also requires that the bag be recyclable and be printed with a message encouraging recycling.
To assist elderly and low-income shoppers, the city government has distributed 122,000 reusable shopping bags to individuals with limited shopping power.
The American Chemistry Council opposes the measure saying, “Most major grocery and retail chains currently offer programs that allow shoppers to bring back plastic bags and all sorts of product wraps for recycling,” the group said in a statement earlier this year in which it called the new levy “misguided and unnecessary.”