Friday, January 01, 2010

District of Columbia Puts Tax On Grocery Shopping Bags

Shoppers at grocery, drug and liquor stores in Washington, D.C. will have to pay 5 cents for every disposable plastic and paper bag unless they use their own bags.

The Center has a policy against using price as a conservation or environmental tool because it can be abusive to citizens and there are better ways to achieve the same results. For instance, instead of taxing shoppers for bags, rich private environmental groups could offer shoppers $1 for using their own bags. Or these groups could provide free bags for people going in to shop.

Our friends at the Anacostia Watershed Society should find other ways to change behavior because ramming this tax down the throats of DC shoppers is only going to generate resentment. Moreover, this tax will not save the Anacostia River and plastic bags, though unsightly, are not the primary pollutants distressing this treasured water body. The Center will work to repeal this local tax.

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