Wednesday, February 18, 2009

taxing plastic bags

As you may have read in The Post last week, council in the District are considering following in the footsteps of Mayor Bloomberg and inserting a 5 cent fee for plastic bags in hopes to dissuade their use and, in D.C., split the revenue between businesses and the city, "which would use its share to help clean the Anacostia River and offer free reusable bags to elderly and low-income residents."

Not only do I support this initiative, I'd like to see plastic bags banned all together. In fact, consider myself to be one of the "bag-bashers." Call me crazy and suggest that I move to San Francisco if you want, but those things are far more menacing than they are useful. Try counting how many you see stuck in trees or blowing around the road in a single day. It's disturbing. The Economist green.view touched on the topic this week:

The ugliness of discarded bags is the least of the problems they spawn. In places like India and Bangladesh, they have a nasty habit of clogging drains; during monsoon season the resulting floods can cause huge damage and even the occasional death.

Plastic bags are also a menace to animals. Many become snagged in them, or eat them—potentially fatal mistakes. Bags that wind up at sea can absorb toxic chemicals, making them even more harmful to the wildlife around them. And they never really biodegrade: they simply break into ever smaller pieces.

I'd really like to see this happen. Maybe businesses will even start training cashiers how to better handle customers who has bring their own bags!


becky said...

I agree that they are a problem...but at least many people like me, try to resue them for other purposes

Filatore said...

I'm with you..last year,I attempted to totally give up plastic bags and posted the number of plastic bags on-line for the first 6 or 7 months. By August, I was so embarrassed that I had used in excess of 100+ and took my plastic bag counter off the blog.

I'm all for getting rid of them.

Deborah said...

It's pretty insane to think about their usage. Like Becky, I reuse them - particularly for pet waste as I think she does as well - but that doesn't mean I don't feel guilty about it.

What is really difficult to think about, at least for me, is that I get the feeling that the ones we see littering our trees and neighborhoods were originally intended for recycling. A lot of people have great intentions and take them back to stores but it's like, no matter what we do, they end up = problems.