D.C.’s bag-tax leadership


The Examiner reported earlier this week that Prince George’s County has started discussing its own variation on the plastic bag fee, a move that would require the approval of Maryland’s General Assembly. A state senator and state delegate have already indicated that they’ll move to give the county that authority in January, after which the County Council could decide how much to charge for each plastic bag and where the proceeds of the fee would go.

In January 2012, a five-cent bag fee will go into effect in Montgomery County. Interestingly, retailers don’t seem particularly concerned that the new fee will eat into sales; when the District debated implementing the fee in 2009, lobbyists for the plastic bag industry spelled out all sorts of doomsday scenarios.

Generally speaking, the District’s five-cent fee has been held up as an example of how best to reduce the use of plastic bags. In the first month of its implementation, plastic bag use fell by a staggering 19 million. Still, compliance has been an issue — earlier this year, a survey found that 38 percent of retailers weren’t imposing the fee.

Martin Austermuhle blogs at DCist. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

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