Saving our planet; one bag at a time

May 2, 2004

Plastic bags are not free

Filed under: Environment — Kaajal @ 3:12 pm

Plastic bags aren't free. YOU pay for them.

Mary O’Keefe from Pompano Beach wrote an article in the Sun-Sentinel in which she mentioned how she initially thought California’s proposed 17 cent tax on plastic bags was ridiculous and a burden on the consumer.

But she quickly changed her mind.

Here’s what she says “Then I went to my local grocery store and again came home with numerous plastic bags. Several bundles had two and three bags for one item that was not breakable nor particularly heavy,”

“I have changed my position. The one dismissed value of this proposal was the awareness of what we waste. Even though our behavior — not the plastic bags — is the problem, it would inspire awareness and conservation. We apparently need constant reminders or reprimands. Other countries that have implemented such a program report great success”

You’re so right, Mary. Plastic bag consumption fell 90% in Ireland after they imposed a tax on plastic bags.

People who believe plastic bags are being given free just aren’t aware of the facts. They cost you money, and more than you think.

So, it’s not really a burden either. The consumer is already paying this 17 cent cost in the form of city and municipal taxes. The 17 cent figure was worked out based on how much it costs communities to cope with the mess plastic bags create.

Add to this the fact that retailers who appear to give them away free are actually buying them and building the cost into the products they sell you. Most will be happy to offer you a discount if you bring your own bag.

Reusable fabric bags are an attractive and surprisingly economical alternative and very, very practical.

Most American have the impression that fabric bags are expensive. They aren’t. They’re surprisingly affordable. 

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