Why Not Tax Plastic Bags?

Going green — By Roberta on July 20, 2009 at 10:00 am

2268965888 cf4e8a2586 m Why Not Tax Plastic Bags?It’s working in Hong Kong. Why don’t we give it a try in America? It seems that after only two days of a tax amounting to six US cents per plastic bag at stores and supermarkets in Hong Kong, plastic bag usage was down  85%.

Not only that, it seems the number of people who brought their own bags or did not ask for plastic bags at supermarkets also increased by a whopping 56% That’s not chicken feed in a city of over seven million souls.

If they can do it in Hong Kong, why can’t we do it here in the United States where  it is estimated that the average suburban supermarket goes through 25,000 plastic bags per day? Although more and more Americans are using their own cloth bags, and  some environmentally aware supermarket chains( let’s hear it for Whole Foods) are offering a small cash rebate to shoppers who do bring their own bags, the overwhelming majority of shoppers are still carrying home their groceries in plastic bags. In theory, most of us want to cut down on our use of plastic bags, but when it comes time to go out shopping, it is just too much trouble. Introducing a plastic bag tax sounds like a brilliant way to jog people’s memories by giving them a pain in the pocketbook.  It certainly seems to have worked in Hong Kong.

It’s not very often that I am in favor of taxing something– but in this case, I think that a federal tax on plastic bags just might be a very good idea. What do you think?

source: Earth Times -July 9,2009

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  1. Sonny McCool says:

    I like plastic bags and would gladly pay the tax.

  2. Tracy says:

    America never thinks of these things.

    In Canada I bought a canvas tote bag that I use over and over again. No need to plastic anymore!

  3. Roberta says:

    HI Tracy–Well they sell cloth bags here very cheaply– even in grocery stores( usually with the store logo on it) I have half a dozen and often use them,but sometimes I forget and lots of folks just don’t bother. Some are just in a hurry and some really don’t believe that there is a problem with plastic. That’s why I think if we had to pay a tax on plastic bags, we would soon make the effort.

    Seems it is a kinder, gentler world in Canada– cloth bags and universal health care– we should take a page from your book I think:-)

  4. Roberta says:

    Right Sonny and with a tax, you would have the option of using plastic without feeling guilty about it. Thanks for your POV– one that others share I am sure.

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