The Washington Post

Arlington Greens call for a plastic bag and Styrofoam ban

The Arlington Green Party called on the Arlington County Board to ban plastic bags and Styrofoam products from supermarkets and food retailers Friday morning.

“The need has never been greater since the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) has called for a massive reduction in the waste that flows into the Chesapeake Bay watershed, much of it consisting of plastic bags and Styrofoam debris,” said Audrey Clement, a candidate for Arlington County Board, outside of the county offices.

Audrey Clement, a Green Party candidate for Arlington County Board, calls for a ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam products from county supermarkets and food retailers. (By Christy Goodman/The Washington Post)

The District successfully adopted a five-cent plastic bag tax last year. Montgomery County is considering a similar law. Bills to tax the bags in Maryland were rejected this year by the state’s General Assembly.

Arlington officials have said that under the Dillon Rule, they need permission from the General Assembly to enact such a ban. The county backed state legislation adding a tax on plastic bags for the past three years, but the bills have not been successful.

The county can adopt its own ordinances for the ban, Clement said. Virginia allows localities to adopt solid waste management plans, subject to Virginia Waste Management Board rules, she said.

“The Dillon Rule doesn’t apply,” said Clement, who encouraged the board to adopt the ban and allow people to challenge it in court.

Clement delivered a letter addressed to Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman (D) and copies of 2007 San Francisco ordinances banning plastic bags and Styrofoam to the county clerk’s office.

Board members J. Walter Tejada (D) and Mary Hynes (D) are up for election this year.

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