Washington, D.C. Becomes First U.S. City to Impose Fees on Disposable Grocery Bags

Monday, January 25, 2010

Shopping in the District of Columbia became more expensive as of January 1 because of a new mandatory five-cent tax on grocery bags. Local officials imposed the first-in-the-nation tax as part of DC’s Skip the Bag, Save the River campaign to clean up the Anacostia River, which has been plagued by sewage spills and other pollution, including plastic bags. Businesses are required to charge customers five cents per bag unless they bring their own. Stores get to keep one cent, and the other four go toward the river campaign, which is expected to raise $3.6 million in 2010.

The DC tax follows similar efforts in San Francisco, which banned the use of disposable plastic bags by large retailers in 2007, and in North Carolina where some counties now forbid the use of plastic bags by stores.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
DC First City to Impose Fee on Plastic Bags (by Nick Wilson, Courthouse News Service)


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