Residents of the US capital may have to dig a little deeper into their pockets when they go grocery shopping once the city slaps a five-cent levy on each plastic bag issued at the checkout line.
The measure, which takes effect on January 1, 2010 and is the first such initiative in the United States, seeks to make consumers bear the brunt of clean up costs for the bags which currently are dispensed for free with a customer’s purchases.
Under the new law, city businesses that sell food or alcohol must charge customers five cents for every disposable paper or plastic carryout bag. The law also requires that these bags be recyclable and carry a message encouraging recycling.”
To prepare for the change, the city government has distributed some 122,000 reusable shopping bags to elderly and low-income residents who complain that their limited spending power will be further hampered by the levy.
This new levy only applies to DC, not the surrounding metropolitan area. Apparently a few retailers in the city of DC will be giving out free reusable totes for this first week of the new levy (starting today, January 1, 2010) such as Trader Joes (in select Washington, DC stores), Giant Food (in select Washington, DC stores), Harris Teeter (for VIC card members in select Washington, DC stores) and CVS (DDOE bags in select Washington, DC stores). Below is an excerpt from this Greater Greater Washington Blog article:
Councilmember Tommy Wells released a list of some of the stores offering promotions tied to the bill. Harris Teeter will give free bags to customers who use their VIC cards and spend more than $20 in January. CVS is distributing some of DDOE’s reusable bags at various locations and will also give shoppers a $1 coupon for every four times they bring reusable bags. Safeway is distributing bags through local nonprofits. And Target will offer the 5-cent credit for bags customers bring in.