DC Gets Bag Tax

11 Jan

I have written several posts about the number of plastic bags consumers collect and how wasteful those bags are. I know most people say that they reuse those bags, however, I find it near impossible to believe that anyone finds a second use for all of those bags. I make a conscious effort to bring reusable bags with me to the food store and I still manage to collect more paper and plastic bags than I can use.

As of New Year’s day, DC now charges $.05 for every bag you take from any store that sells food and beverages. This new tax has created a lot of heated chatter from many of my friends. I skipped my weekly poker game last week and everyone in attendance reported back to me about the conversation, and most people don’t know that I have a strong opinion about the tax or bag usage. Personally, I believe that we should use less plastic bags and disposable products in general. However, I am not in love with instituting a tax to change people’s behavior.  I do believe that the ends justify the means.

Based on the amount of chatter created by this tax in just one week, I think people will drastically alter their shopping habits on principle. For most of my friends spending an extra quarter every week when they go shopping would not make a difference- so it is definately the idea of spending the extra money that has people in an uproar. Or the government’s involvement. Also if you are smart about your bag usage you could actually save money buy using reuseable bags. For a long time now Giant has offered a .05 back on each bag you bring to the store, not Trader Joes does as well. I have not been to Safeway yet. And at CVS you can get a card and everytime you bring a reusable bag you get a point toward CVS extra bucks.

I am sure that there will still be times that I run to the store to get something and don’t have a bag or I go to somewhere like Bed, Bath and Beyond or Target and I need to use their bags, because mine aren’t big enough.  And of course clothing stores are not included.  So, I will still collect trash bags, but overall the number will reduce.

I am hoping that this tax will increase awareness and force people to change their habits. Our society is currently dependent on products that are cheaper to dispose of than fix.

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Posted by on January 11, 2010 in sustainability


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