County Board Approves Plastic Bag Tax

CCounty Board Approves Plastic Bag Tax
The County Board adopted a 5¢ tax on disposable plastic shopping bags at its meeting on Sat, Sept 18. Currently, Arlington’s residential recycling program does not accept plastic bags because its contractor’s equipment can not process them. The plastic bag tax will go into effect on January 1, 2022.
  The tax will not apply to restaurants, farmers markets, clothing stores, and alcoholic beverage retailers. Bags used for wrapping meat, produce, dry cleaning, garbage and pet waste are also exempt. The tax is estimated to cost about $50/year to a family of 4 who persists in using plastic bags. ARLnow reported that County Board member Christian Dorsey hinted that the county may pursue other forms of behavior modification in the future. ARLnow Agenda Highlights
Is the County Greenwashing?
A report by NPR revealed the unintended consequences of plastic bag taxes could actually make matters worse:
● Plastic grocery bags have the smallest carbon footprint for a single use.
● People who reuse plastic bags for other purposes (e.g. dog poop or lining trash bins) still needed bags… sales of thicker garbage bags skyrocketed.
●Paper bags are worse for the environment, requiring cutting down and processing trees, using lots of water, toxic chemicals, fuel and heavy machinery.
● A study that took into account many environmental impacts estimated an organic cotton bag would need to be reused 20,000 times more than a plastic grocery bag to make it better for the environment.