MD bag bill hearings this week!

This is a big week in our efforts for a Trash Free Anacostia and a Trash Free Maryland - the Clean the Streams and Beautify the Bay Act of 2011 will be heard in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly.  The bill will create a small 5 cent fee on single-use bags in order to drive down their use and help fund the cost of cleaning up after the mess they create.  A similar program in Washington, DC has been in place since January 1, 2010.  The Washington Post notes the bag fee success in DC and says Maryland should follow suit.

Please consider attending to show your support for clean streams and healthy waterways!

  • Tuesday, March 8, 1pm - Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee (EHEA)
  • Friday, March 11, 1pm - House Environmental Matters Committee (ENV)

     

What you can do

 

Why we need a bag bill

  • In the Anacostia River, plastic bags are 47% of the trash items in the Maryland tributaries and 22% of the trash items in the tidal river.
  • The Back River Restoration Committee, just east of Baltimore, reported in just seven months capturing 50 cubic yards of plastic debris - not including over 83,000 bottles also collected from their trash boom.
  • Free single use plastic bags are not actually free.  Consumers pay the hidden costs of disposable plastic bags - the cost of purchasing bags is passed on to consumers and the cost of cleaning them up is born by the public.

 

7-11 in Chillum, MD - March 7, 2011
7-11 located in Chillum, MD - March 7, 2011.

7-11 in Chillum, MD - March 7, 2011
A closer view of numerous plastic bags caught in the trees to the left of the 7-11 pictured above.

 

Bag fees and business

A common myth, promoted by the plastics industry, is that a bag fee is bad for business.  In a survey of the impact of Washington, DC's 5 cent bag fee, 78% of businesses reported a positive or neutral experience with the bag fee.

In fact, many small businesses love the bag fee, reporting that not only are they saving the expense of buying "free" bags to give away but also that they are making money selling reusable bags.

In fact, it is large chains that oppose plastic bag bills because of their unwillingness to change practices, their ties to the plastics industry and because they can better absorb the expense of purchasing "free" bags to distribute.  It is unfortunate that some of these businesses cannot see the impact of trash on their own properties, let alone the communities they serve.

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