USBC Blog Post re: Prince George’s County Bag Tax
December 16, 2011
Earlier this year, I met with Hilex Poly Co., an industry leading manufacturer and recycler of plastic bag and film products, to discuss the negative impacts of plastic bag bans and taxes that are being proposed across the nation. Cities and counties are continuing to propose misguided legislation that puts 10,000 plastic bag manufacturing and recycling jobs on the line and takes money out of the pockets of those who need it most in these trying times. These bans and taxes are unnecessary when other solutions that support local communities, the economy and the environment, such as recycling, are already in place.
Just this month, Prince George’s County in Maryland proposed legislation that would tax consumers who rely on plastic and paper bags to carry their purchases home from grocery stores or other retailers. While the county’s desire to reduce trash entering the Anacostia River, as well as subsequent dollars spent on litter pick-up is understandable, taxing plastic and paper bags is not the solution, nor will it help the county achieve its environmental goals. What the tax will do is:
Place a regressive tax on county residents that adds burden to families in a down economy – At a time when the cost of transportation, food and housing continues to rise, residents are thinking about every penny. If the tax is passed, people will have to include the cost of carry-home bags into their weekly grocery budget instead of being able to maximize their dollars on the items that matter most.
Increase waste and reduce recycling programs – Without free plastic bags, like those currently provided by grocers and retailers, residents will need to find alternatives, including non-recyclable reusable bags made in China or thicker plastic bags to line trash bins. Both options have a larger environmental footprint and jeopardize the growing recycling industry in the U.S. that is creating new jobs.
Legislation that improves our communities and economy should always be top-of-mind for lawmakers, but more importantly, they should be considering all of the facts before making a decision that impacts their constituents. As this itch to tax plastic bags continues to spread across the nation, I encourage you to let your local, state and national level lawmakers know that more taxes are not what our country needs right now. One way you can do this is by visiting Hilex’s Bag the Ban website, where you can find the latest facts on plastic bag legislation across the U.S. and sign a petition to defend working class families and small businesses.