US move to tax plastic bags out of existence
by Alan Harten
April 29, 2009
Plastic bags at the supermarket may soon be a thing of the past in the United States, if the initiative known as the Plastic Bag Reduction Act passes in the United States Congress.
Introduced on April 22nd by US Rep Jim Moran, the act imposes a five cent tax on all single use carrier and other plastic bags from supermarkets, convenience stores, takeout bags, and all other retail bags.
The tax is aimed at providing more funding for plastic bag recycling efforts and at reducing the United States’ overuse and dependency on plastic.
It is estimated that millions of tons of ocean pollution each year results from plastic bags and that the toxins released from the plastic used to make the bags may be affecting aquatic life and the environment.
Several states in the United States have already passed state level taxes on plastic bags with several cities in California and Connecticut banning the bags from use altogether.
The United States is not the first country to address the pollution affects of plastic bags, as several countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa have made steps to ban or tax bags already.
US plastic bag manufacturers responded by pledging to use at least 40% of recycled materials in their plastic bags by 2015 to help reduce pollution.
If passed, the five cent tax on plastic bags would increase to 25 cents in 2015, making an average trip to the supermarket cost a dollar more on each occasion if plastic bags are used.
Alongside the Plastic Bag Reduction Act, Moran is also looking to mandate a federal five cent deposit on all plastic soda and water bottles.
Various US states already charge deposits on their bottles but there is no nationwide legislation in place.
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