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MoCo Considers Imitating D.C.'s Bag Tax

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Montgomery County will start charging 5 cents per bag in 2012.
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Montgomery County will start charging 5 cents per bag in 2012.

Maryland officials have been studying the District's bag tax and they like what they see. Montgomery County resident Ona, on the other hand, says she thinks the policy is still a terrible idea.

"I almost refuse to pay 5 cents for a bag. I just bought the groceries, why should I have to pay them back for the bag that it goes in?" she says.

But many shoppers have already gotten use to bringing their own bags when they shop in Maryland, like James Mullens of Silver Spring.

"I think it's a good policy because so much of the plastic just gets used once and then thrown away, and if it doesn't get recycled then its just creating a mess," he says.

If OK'd by the county council, a fee of 5 cents would be applied to each carryout, paper or plastic bag. County Executive Isiah Leggett says they expect to take in $1.5 million the first year of the tax, with that money going toward stormwater management and litter cleanup.

"After the first year, a good sign for us would be that we have such strong compliance and that people are using their reusable bags. That we will not see increases in revenue in this, but a significant decreases," he says.

Leggett says plastic bags make up one-third of all trash collected by the county. If approved by the county council, it would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

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