DC Shopping Bag Bill

DC Shopping Bag Bill

The District of Columbia Council held an initial vote on a bill to impose a five cent tax on disposable shopping bags. The measure (introduced by Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells) was approved unnanimously. Further voting is required to  pass the legislation.

Opposition to the measure comes from the plastics industry, bag manufacturers, self-proclaimed defenders of the poor, and dog owners. Anyone who doesn’t have a few cents a day for biodegradable dog poop bags clearly cannot afford to keep a pet, and arguements that the “Bag Bill” is elitist are clearly bogus.

Plastic carryout bags are not really “free,” since tons of them must be removed from rivers, streams, storm sewers, and streets and trucked to landfills. The bag bill reduces costs to taxpayers by reducing waste and encouraging consumers to switch to reusable shopping bags. Retailers will be granted one cent per bag as compensation for fee collection, and the remaining funds will be deposited in a fund to clean up the Anacostia River.

A final vote on the measure is expected on June 16, 2009.

 

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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4 Responses to “DC Shopping Bag Bill”

  1. Dee Says:

    Hey Mike,

    I’d never heard of biodegradable/flushable poopie-sacks before this. Will have to check it out. I’m sure the multi-millionaire rabid Republican pseudo-environmentalists would love them.

    I brought a lot of kitchen stuff with me so the first day of this temp move I bought many of the necessities (flour, olive oil, milk, bread, eggs) then shop probably every other day. So I treated myself to a Whole Foods canvas bag that says Park City on it. A couple weeks ago I took it to its competitor and got dragon looks from the checker. She just glared at me while I bagged my stuff and left.

    Is there a stigma to using one canvas bag at another’s store? And what savings is there to be made if you have to bag everything and spend more of your time while inconveniencing the people behind you in line?

    Perhaps I just don’t understand Utah. Dee

  2. Mike Licht Says:

    Dee wrote: I treated myself to a Whole Foods canvas bag …. A couple weeks ago I took it to its competitor and got dragon looks from the checker. She just glared at me while I bagged my stuff and left.

    Years ago when I was on tour in Aberdeen a bandmate and I shopped in what passed for a supermarket in Scotland back then. There was a checker but no bagger and, as I paid, my pal grabbed some paper bags and started packing our groceries. Talk about glare! It was strong enough to prompt me to ask “Is there a charge for the bags?” There was. I paid, and stopped being The Ugly American.

    Is there a stigma to using one canvas bag at another’s store?

    Yes. Use a tote bag from your PBS or NPR station, “Friends of the Library,” church, garden club, sports team, scout troop, or the local symphony or museum. Also, if you use a bag from elitist “Whole Foods” at a proletarian joint like Red Lion you will trigger class warefare and envy — use a humorous, self-mocking bag in those markets.

    what savings is there to be made if you have to bag everything and spend more of your time while inconveniencing the people behind you in line?

    The time it takes to bail out your flooded basement when storm sewers are clogged with plastic bag litter; the time it takes to earn the tax money that goes to cleaning sewers, streets, streams, rivers, and oceans clogged and polluted by plastic bags. But this question is based on an erroneous assumption — if you give your reuseable bags to the check-out clerk, he/she will pack your groceries in them (if not, shop where they do).

    P.S.: When will Park City secede from Utah and become part of Colorado?

  3. pawsinsd Says:

    I’ve been taken to the woodshed and flogged. Thanks, Mike. This IS Colorado, only with weird Utah liquor laws. Like if you sit at a table you must have a meal, not a beer. What?

    Yes, I’ve tons of canvas bags but 99% of our stuff is in storage 1,500 miles away so gimme a break! And the “rich” bag was $7.99 from Whole Foods. I am environmentally responsible and don’t drink bottled water unless on a 1,500 mile trip.

    These people don’t honor restaurant reservations, hairdresser appointments or music lessons. What are these children learning from their parents’ behavior?
    If they forget the little people and become rabid Republicans like their parents (Park City had several volleys of fireworks during HS graduation) what is to become of us dinosaurs?

    Best Buy opened up this weekend here and we stopped by and the biggest selling items are Guitar Hero and Rock Star. I went across the street to the Conservatory and bought an acoustic guitar (dreadnaught, too big for me). Do you recommend the Martin 000-15? Don’t be mad at me. And let me know before you two get a dog. For breed purposes (I think you deserve a dog that will challenge you) as well as naming. That park-friendly water bowl that you met over should have its own dog. Dee

  4. Mike Licht Says:

    pawsinsd wrote: I went across the street to the Conservatory and bought an acoustic guitar (dreadnaught, too big for me). Do you recommend the Martin 000-15?

    Dee: Try a 000-size guitar and maybe even a 3/4 size, like a Baby Taylor. Actual Martins, Taylors, Gibsons etc are kind of expensive for a beginner, but there are plenty of nice clones.

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