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States Propose Fee For Paper And Plastic

Paper and plastic bags may now cost five cents each if lawmakers have their way.


Photo: mtsofan (flickr)

Here's some incentive to remember your reusable shopping bags next time you go to the grocery store: plastic bags might cost you five cents each.

Carrying a recyclable bag now seems like a better idea. If lawmakers have their way, multiple states across the country will be implementing a plastic and paper bag tax at grocery stores. Those states include Connecticut, Oregon, California, Virginia, Maryland, New York, and Washington DC.

Where Would The Money Go?

The 5-cent fee proposed by Connecticut lawmakers would be used for municipal recycling efforts, but it also serves as a deterrent. Now that reusable totes are easy to come by (most grocery stores have them for sale), environmentalists want plastics done away with.

“I signed this law to cut down on the disposable bags that foul our waterways,” says D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. “We want everyone to know that you can save the river and 5 cents if you bring your own reusable bag to the store instead.”

Getting The Ban On The Books

California, which often leads the country when it comes to earth-friendly initiatives, attempted a total ban on plastic bags last year but the state’s senate ultimately voted down the bill, saying it conflicted with freedom of choice. Proponents vow to reintroduce it again next year.

China banned plastic bags in January 2008 and Bangladesh has outlawed them since 2002.

“You think you’re getting those bags for free,” says Stephanie Barger, executive director of the Earth Resource Foundation, “but in nature, nothing is free. For 30 minutes of use, we end up having to destroy rainforests in Indonesia to get the natural gas, and dealing with the politics of the Middle East to get oil, and then we still have the problem of waiting more than 100 years for the bags to break down.”

Read More:

  • A Fee for Using Plastic Bags: Is Your State Next? (Slashfood)
  • Washington DC first to charge disposable bag fee (ABC News)
Katie Dawson

Katie Dawson is a sophomore at IU majoring in journalism and Spanish. Currently she lives in Bloomington, IN but is originally from Indianapolis. She enjoys cooking, eating and sometimes exercising.

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