D.C. proposes fees for paper, plastic bags
District of Columbia legislators are considering imposing a 5-cents-per-bag fee on plastic or paper bags at liquor stores, grocers, drug stores and other businesses.
The fee would be split between businesses and the city, with the District using its share to help clean the Anacostia River and offer free reusable bags to elderly and low-income residents.
Plastic bags are "the single largest component of trash" in the 8-mile Anacostia River and its tributaries, according to a recent study by the Anacostia Watershed Society.
If passed, the law would be one of the country's toughest such regulations. San Francisco is the only large city in the country that has banned plastic bags. Seattle voters will decide in August whether to approve a 20-cent fee on plastic and paper bags proposed by the Seattle City Council. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a similar 5-cent fee on plastic bags with the aim of generating millions in revenue and eventually discouraging their use (Nikita Stewart, Washington Post, Feb. 12).