Montgomery County Prepares For Bag Tax | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Montgomery County Prepares For Bag Tax

Play associated audio
Montgomery County will join D.C. in charging consumers a 5-cent surcharge for plastic shopping bags to encourage the use of reusable bags.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pipdiddly/4969521868/
Montgomery County will join D.C. in charging consumers a 5-cent surcharge for plastic shopping bags to encourage the use of reusable bags.

In a month and a half, Montgomery County's tax on paper and plastic bags goes into effect. And it isn't just shoppers who will make adjustments -- retailers must make changes so that they can charge the 5-cent per bag tax, one cent of which they get to keep. The rest will go to the county for cleanup and environmental programs.

To help raise awareness of the tax, Barwood Taxi cab drivers will pass out 4,000 reusable bags to riders starting next week. They are one of many businesses doing this over the next six weeks in partnership with the county. Local leaders such as Council Vice President Roger Berliner say they're not looking to collect much money from the tax. They'd rather people just stop using paper and plastic bags. Berliner adds that can only happen if people are aware of the tax from day one. He says, himself included.

"I have seven reusable bags in the back of my car," says Berliner. "And I still walk into the grocery store without them. And I promise you once I start having to pay that nickel, I'm going to hit myself upside the head and say no this is to easy."

Greg Ten Eyck, with Safeway, says they are making changes to their registers.

"There is a computer adjustment that we must make for that, he says. "One of the other major parts of this is we have to train our staff to ask the customer, 'Do you want bags today? And if so how many?' So that we can correctly charge the customer."

Ten Eyck calls it an inconvenience. But he adds there is a reason they're partnering with Montgomery County to pass out reusable bags.

"The effect of it does reduce the amount of bags we are distributing. So there is a cost savings to us, because we are purchasing fewer paper and plastic bags."

Several other large retailers are also passing out reusable bags, including Safeway's biggest competitor, Giant.

Montgomery County modeled its tax after a similar fee in the District, where leaders say in the first 18 months of the effort, litter was reduced by 65 percent.

NPR

Beyond The Bestsellers: Nancy Pearl Recommends 'Under The Radar' Reads

NPR's go-to books guru has sent host Steve Inskeep a stack of books — titles she thinks deserve more attention than they've been getting. Here are her fiction picks, to kick off your summer reading.
NPR

Census Reveals Universe Of Marine Microbes At Bottom Of The Food Chain

The ocean's tiniest inhabitants — including bacteria, plankton, krill — are food for most everything that swims or floats. Now, scientists have completed a count of this vast and diverse hidden world.
NPR

Congressional Stalemate Threatens To Kill Phone Data Program

Congress continues to debate the USA Patriot Act. A key provision allowing the bulk collection of Americans' phone records expires at the end of the month.
NPR

Mechanical Turk Workers: Secret Cogs In The Internet Marketplace

There are hundreds of thousands of people doing stuff to your Internet experience that you may think is the work of an algorithm. They're working from home doing tiny tasks computers can't quite do.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.