Nickel bag tax slashes waste in D.C.

Disposable plastic bags make up 47% of the trash in the Anacostia river basin, so Washington D.C. instituted a five-cent bag tax, effective January 1. How much difference could a nickel make?

> Less than a month into the program, which D.C. officials describe as an effort to reduce litter and generate funds to clean up the Anacostia River, the nickel bag fee is having a big impact. Managers at stores that sell food or beverages say the switchover has cut the use of plastic bags by half or more. One Safeway in Northwest reports a falloff of more than 6,000 bags a week, about half of its former volume.

> And for customers, the bag law is changing the District’s carryout culture in ways large and small. A lunchtime army of office workers now ply the sidewalks with near-naked sandwiches and sodas filling their hands, making some diners more self-conscious about what they buy. Parking lots feature impromptu juggling acts as determined fee-avoiders teeter to their cars with heaping armloads of loose groceries. And people are stockpiling reusable shopping bags — and routinely forgetting to take them shopping.

Dan Ariely, a professor of economics, isn’t surprised that the small surcharge has prompted a big change in behavior.

> Because plastic bags have always been free, Ariely said, shoppers have come to see them as a kind of entitlement. Adding even a tiny fee is an affront to what they cherish as the natural order of things. “When it goes from zero to even a very small charge, it can feel very bad,” he said. “It creates a very small financial burden but a very big emotional reaction.”

The success of the bag tax have led some to optimistically surmise that even a nominal price on carbon might have major effects on consumer behavior. Allow me to now don my grumpy pants and explain why this almost certainly isn’t the case:

* The key to the success of the bag tax is that bags were formerly free. For reasons peculiar to the human heart, people really dislike paying for things they are accustomed to getting for nothing, even if the absolute value of the charge is trivial.
* Speaking of which: carbon isn’t free. Electricity costs money. Gasoline costs money. Home heating oil costs money. Worse, prices for these items are volatile, making it difficult for consumers to understand the impact of the tax.
* We’ve already tried this, part 1. America has a gasoline tax, and many years of evidence support the conclusion that the result of a modest surcharge is, well, modest.
* We’ve already tried this, part 2. Many countries, including the Kyoto signatories, have implemented various forms of carbon pricing. Happily, these schemes appear to work. But they don’t work magically through the power of suggestion. Carbon pricing needs to be implemented in the context of an effective and meaningful system of incentives.
* There’s a persistent misconception that the primary mechanism of a carbon price is to change the behavior of individuals. Personal conservation is a piece of the puzzle, but probably not as big a piece as, say, industrial efficiency and deployment of renewable energy. In these realms, economics matters more than psychology.

The good news out of D.C. is that pricing really can be a fantastic lever with which to generate positive environmental outcomes. Putting a price on carbon would surely cause less carbon to be emitted. Yea!

The bad news out of D.C. is that people get just flat-out crazy when you propose new fees of any kind. The comments section of an online poll related to the bag tax is the usual horror show: whinging about the jackboot of government; threats of boycott and economic doom; concern trolling about the manner in which the fee was implemented; and so on. The article itself ends with a quote that is almost poetic in its compressed expression of the wall of confused resentment that any environmental regulation must climb.

> “I pay enough taxes to D.C.,” said Way, the shopper with the cart full of loose items in Southeast. “They could give me a dang plastic bag.”

Author Bio

adam

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  1. Susan Williams - February 3, 2010

    In Finland, France, and Italy (and probably most other European countries), all stores routinely charge a small sum for plastic bags. My behavior changed immediately when confronted with this policy: I did as the Europeans do–bought a plastic shopping bag and reused it. Supermarkets in Finland also sell inexpensive cloth shopping bags, which are easy to keep in a pocket or handbag. Both French and Italian supermarkets sell well-made, durable, large shopping bags. Who needs plastic? Plastic bags need not be an American entitlement.

  2. Jenn N - February 3, 2010

    I think this is a great idea, I lived in Ireland for a while, where they had it in place. It was a non-issue to everyone, and cut plastic bag waste dramatically. It also gives the citizens a feel of ownership, that they’re helping the environment.
    I live in Baltimore now, where we had beautiful snow this morning. As I’m admiring the look and feel of my block with the fresh white snow, I looked up and saw a blue plastic bag in the tree. :-/

  3. Dave - February 3, 2010

    I pick up at least 10 pieces of trash a day as I commute by bike or walk the dogs around my block, and recycle as much of that amount as possible. It’s part of a personal intentional commitment begun a couple years ago, to making a small but tangible positive local difference for my watershed and community quality of life in central Ohio.
    Thus far in 2010, plastic bags have constituted 31 percent of what I’ve picked up (in number). I’m at 204 bags today, on my 22nd day of bike commuting. Oh, there’s no bag fee in my state. The grocery store parking lot fence is 50 feet from the river, and most of the plastic bags I intercept are somewhere between those two points. Yes, there was a bag stuck on the ice in the middle of the river yesterday.
    I believe that plastic debris pollution is a huge problem globally and locally. Algalita marine research foundation has a lot of great info on the topic.
    I agree there’s a huge psychological mountain to climb with carbon pricing to get the desired behavior change. Personally I favor a sufficiently high, blanket fossil fuel carbon tax coupled with an equal per capita rebate as proposed by James Hansen and others. Maria Cantwell’s legislative proposal in congress sounds more likely to achieve the desired goals than the swiss cheese political exemptions of the cap’n'trade bill now being debated.

  4. Liz - February 3, 2010

    I work in Washington, DC; I’m one of those office workers with the lunch on display. I have long been in the habit of carrying a small tote bag anytime I leave the office mid-day just in case I remember something I need to buy, but now I am not alone and now the cashiers don’t look at me funny when I present my own bag for my purchases.
    I agree that the principle probably can’t be generalized to carbon tax, but every little bit helps, right?

  5. Heather - February 3, 2010

    Thanks for this article Adam.
    Since moving to the USA, I’ve been very amused watching the consistent pushback by the general public to take responsibility for their actions (I use the term general VERY intentionally). It comes across as an almost in-built, juvenile laziness.
    Take this bag tax as an example. People see plastic trash everywhere, know where it comes from, and know that they contribute to it. But, they don’t stop using the bags… Until of course, they are ‘forced’ to stop using them by (gasp) paying for them.
    Here’s a novel idea complainers of the American Public. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your actions. Know that you impact everything and everyone around you. It can’t be avoided. Take your heads out from the collective sands and see that by taking responsibility for your actions (such as bringing along your own bag) you might just (a) positively impact your surroundings (b) lead by example (c) collectively reduce a very nasty type of pollution and (d) grow-up in the process.
    Please note that I continue to meet countless responsible, adult, caring, intelligent Americans who welcome responsibility and take a positive and proactive approach to minimizing their impact(s).
    As for this program’s success demonstrating the potential success of a carbon tax… well, I have to agree with you Adam. “Carbon pricing needs to be implemented in the context of an effective and meaningful system of incentives.” There is never, ever a single solution to a plethora of problems. Taxing carbon seems like a band-aid placed over a gaping wound. It looks nice and may just stop a little ‘bleeding’ but it will never fix the problem entirely.
    In the mean time, kudos to those in DC who have decided to bring their own, rather than gripe and moan. Now as for the rest of us…

  6. Rob - February 3, 2010

    That is GREAT that you pick up trash on your commute. My kids and I routinely walk through our nearby city park picking up trash, for the exact same reasons as you — to keep plastic out of our watershed. It’s amazing how much trash you can find if you really look for it.
    If a tax on plastic bags means less plastic bags used, then I’m all for it. The next item I’d suggest to put a similar tax on would be juice boxes. The majority of the trash we pick out the park are the plastic sleeves that are glued to juice boxes to hold their straws. A nice little tax would be a great incentive for someone to come up with more environmentally-friendly straw packaging.

  7. trent - February 3, 2010

    I too have been using reusable grocery bags. The only ironic problem is I was using them as garbage bags. Now I have to buy garbage bags. I recycle as much as Im allowed by the city: Paper,cardboard,steel cans, aluminum, 1 and 2 category plastics.

  8. Joodly - February 3, 2010

    It astonishes me that so many folks still don’t see themselves as part of the ecology of their own world. Where does one suppose pollution and all its attendant problems come from if not, in part at least, from one’s own “dang bags?” Each of us must participate, just as we participate in consuming the earth’s gifts, and tossing reusable grocery bags into the car is a very minor behavior change.
    Wake up, America. This is 2010, we know what’s happening to our immediate environment and to the global ecology, and we still want our bags?

  9. trent - February 3, 2010

    How do I NOT USE garbage bags when storing smelly garbage in my kitchen? I do put the slimy stuff in my compost pail BTW!!!

  10. Chris Bowman - February 3, 2010

    Once on a lovely car tour with my family of the Southwestern U.S., (sorry about the carbon, but it sure was an awesome trip) among the many wonderful sights which left a lasting impression was one not so wonderful: on the outskirts of virtually every lonely desert town were about a million plastic shopping bags hung up on the chain link fences, sage brush and cacti. I couldn’t help wondering where the heck they all came from. It was a striking visual representation of a significant problem which can be quite easily solved.
    Now if we can just solve the problem of remembering to bring the cloth bag to the store.

  11. efenhel - February 3, 2010

    It’s really not so much the bag as what is in it. I am not supporting plastic bags, I’m just saying if we could somehow put as much thought into what is going into the bags as we on the bags them self we would be in much better shape….

  12. Jackie Rockwell - February 3, 2010

    I shop at a local co-op for most of my grocery shopping where they charge a fee for paper bags, they don’t even offer plastic, so I always remember to bring my reusable bags. However, when I have to occasionally stop in at Safeway or some other store where they use as many plastic bags as items you buy sometimes, the clerks get SO irritated when I say, “oh, hold on, I have a bag”, and that’s only if I can get it out in time before they’ve loaded it all up in 45 plastic bags.
    I think this tax is good because it brings awareness. Of course people are going to complain, we’re American’s and we feel entitled, as Susan said, to have unlimited use of something we are used to having. But in a few years, when people in DC are more used to this idea of bringing your own bag, or paying for the one you get, they may have a different view on it.

  13. dee dee - February 3, 2010

    I posted about this topic recently on my everydayfrugaleverydaygreen blog http://everydayfrugaleverydaygreen.blogspot.com/2010/01/to-market-to-market.html
    I just don’t understand what inhibits so many people from keeping a tote bag handy. I always have half a dozen in the trunk of my car and two tiny fold-up bags in my purse. While I still get attitude from some store clerks, I was actually THANKED by a two young store employees when I was Christmas shopping in December. Their obvious approval of my actions gave me hope for our future!

  14. AnnDe - February 3, 2010

    Heather said: “Here’s a novel idea complainers of the American Public. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your actions. ”
    Thank you!!! I was born in Washington, D.C. nearly 74 years ago, roamed the stream valleys for decades, etc.
    Although it is “just human”, it is really sad how many in our wasteful American culture fixate on foolishness and ignore their integral role and connections to “the environment”.

  15. Michele - February 3, 2010

    We always try to buy the “green” trashbags. They actually make ones that biodegrade faster. If we can’t find those, we try to get ones made from recycled materials.
    We also just found reusable produce bags at a health food store. I had been using lingerie bags (they are washable then if the produce spoils in the bag), but talk about getting strange looks from the clerk!

  16. Margaret - February 3, 2010

    They tried to implement a plastic bag “tax” – which is not actually a tax, since you don’t have to pay it if you bring your own bag – in Seattle, shining bastion of liberalism and environmentalism (I say that only a little bit facetiously) and it STILL managed to get voted down.
    All the “flat-out craziness” you mention above sprang up everywhere, and there was a furious spate of TV advertising about how “unfair” this tax was going to be. I can only imagine the “no bag tax” campaign was completely financed by plastic bag manufacturers; I can’t imagine any individual actually donating money to a “no bag tax” campaign. Even if you only donated $10, think how many .05 plastic bags that would have bought you! It just doesn’t make any sense.
    How long are we going to let corporations tell us what’s best for us, which will always boil down to “Buy the product I’m selling”?

  17. Karen - February 3, 2010

    A few months ago I returned home from Walmart with 19 grocery items, and 14 plastic grocery bags. I was thinking about taking a stand against plastic bags and this episode pushed me to the brink.
    Then, at Publix a few days later, I watched a woman stand at the dispenser of plastic bags in the produce department and pull 12 of them, one right after the other, and toss them in her cart. For heck of it, I watched her shop for produce and she used 5 of the bags. In each bag she placed one item. That pushed me over the edge.
    I now have re-usable bags, and refuse plastic shopping bags everywhere I go.
    This is just the beginning of habit changes within the household. I was stunned at how many other uses we had for the plastic grocery bags. We are making adjustments.
    Before checking out I smile and say to the sales clerk, “I have my own bags.” I place them on the counter right away and I pack my own purchases.
    Making progress.

  18. Karen - February 3, 2010

    Good for you, Dave.
    My SO and I take racewalk on beaches nearby. Warmup consists of our bending down, picking up and bagging beach trash. 4 bags full get placed in the recycles and then we head out for our 3 to 4 miles of walking.

  19. Jen Thilman - February 3, 2010

    Thank you, Susan!
    Somehow we need to get people to recognize that disposable EVERYTHING is very bad for all of us! Since the earth is our source of life, killing it is the equivalent of suicide, right. But most people look at me like I’m crazy when I say this, go figure!
    I see one of the challenges people in DC mentioned is they have lots of reusable bags, but always forget to bring them to the store. Mine go with me everywhere, are durable and hold a ton of groceries or anything I need to “tote”. I use Baggu Bags (baggubags.com) because they fold up conveniently small and I always have one available. I try and spread the word about these handy bags, since I have realized many people won’t reduce, reuse, recycle unless it is super convenient for them (sad but true). I even give them as gifts and most people appreciate them, and I believe they use them. :-) Thanks again for your great comments.

  20. Tom Harrison - February 4, 2010

    I agree with the comments above about plastic bags, but I think Adam’s point was that carbon pricing is not quite so simple.
    I think the pricing, or limiting, of bags is a trigger — enough for people to learn new habits. It took my wife a few weeks and me about 18 months to consistently remember to bring bags to the store (and have enough and have them in the car, and yes, you can use them at the drug store, and so on). It’s a habit — a change which, once complete becomes an new habit.
    Carbon is different. It’s invisible, and part of things we do every day. It’s not as easy to “quit.”
    So bags may be like smoking and carbon like losing weight. And even though it has taken a long time, people are indeed able to quit smoking. Not so much with the weight loss.
    Diets don’t work for losing weight: what does is changing your lifestyle.
    Economic strategies for carbon reduction must start with changing the way we think about our lives. I have been working with energycircle.com lately, and the message there is that we need to measure and understand how we use energy (power monitoring, or home energy audits, for example, and then we can see how to make change.
    It’s not much different on the macro-economic front for carbon.
    Tom

  21. Heather - February 4, 2010

    Tom, I agree that plucking the low hanging fruit is a wonderful first step in addressing energy use. Conduct personal energy audits, make adjustments, make a difference.
    I do encourage all readers to be particularly careful with the use of the term ‘carbon.’ For example, we are 50% carbon by weight, and the term ‘organic’ refers to a class of compounds with a carbon basis. From a climate change perspective, increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide are of primary concern (about 85% of all greenhouse gas emissions). The other 15% are made up primarily of 5 other greenhouse gases (Methane CH4, Nitrous Oxide NO2, Hydrofluorocarbons HFCs, Perfluorocarbons PFCs, and Sulfur Hexafluoride SF6).
    Carbon is naturally sequestered in the form of (primarily) Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and mineralized carbon over long time periods, not just C alone. It is the development of these carbon compounds which is of concern, not carbon itself.
    I would hate to think people started being ‘anti-carbon’ given that we would then be completely anti ourselves and other living organisms. Perhaps we should be more ‘pro-alternative energies’ and ‘pro-natural cycles’ which of course, includes the carbon cycle and the natural emission and sequestration of (primarily) carbon dioxide and calcium carbonate by the oceans and the earth

  22. DC Citizen - February 4, 2010

    I do take responsibility for my actions. I do not litter. As a DC resident for 20 years, I don’t like being punished because some people do litter.
    I recycle bags I do not reuse. However, I reuse most carry-out bags — I own a dog and have trash cans.
    I am not using any fewer plastic bags than I did before the tax. The only difference is now I have to pay for them.

  23. Paul - February 4, 2010

    DC Citizen:
    Kudos to you for being responsible and not littering.
    However, I would point out that the idea of you being punished by a bag tax presupposes you’re entitled to free plastic bags – and obviously this isn’t the case.
    Anyway, if the nickel charge really bothers you, it seems like an easy enough problem to resolve: simply bring your own bags or recycle the ones you’ve been given.
    Otherwise it seems like a tiny price to pay for something that results in such positive change.
    (And yes, I do bring my own bags when I shop and I do recycle heavily.)

  24. shirleerae - February 4, 2010

    I live in the southwest and I am appalled at the amount of litter that I see in my small town and especially along the highway corridors of my state. We do have problems with using too much plastic in this country because it has become a convenient way of either storing or carrying our groceries, etc..and it is about reprogramming oneself to remember to carry in the reuseable bags so you don’t have to use the plastic ones…also having more places that recycle plastic bags, containers etc. would help..and also buying a Brita water purifier so we can refill water bottles instead of buying individual bottles for hiking and such…

  25. Mary - February 4, 2010

    Yay! I love all of your ideas and concerns! I have been thinking of how to encourage everyone who is not concerned about sustainability and environmental issues, those who want to “party on” and overuse, to conserve and care. It has been exciting and fun to work with several friends in our town to start a Farmers’ Market, arrange speakers from far and wide to come and share their knowledge about environmental issues, and this past summer to start a very successful community garden. My husband and I have been working with a committee to save energy (now working on a town wind turbine) in many ways. It is a terrific way to meet other concerned folks.
    However, it is frustrating to know that many people do not have any interest in changing their lifestyles. Do you all have any terrific, novel ideas to raise their awareness — for all of the reasons you have stated thus far? After working with students on environmental issues for several years, I know that it is not difficult to get THEM to care. How do we reach their parents?

  26. Lauren - February 4, 2010

    While see no problem for the cost of the plastic bag I do understand that Americans have a general dislike for Taxes – I mean that is the basis of our Revolution to become an independent country. On the other hand the retailer does have to buy the bags so why not pass on the cost to the consumers…although personally I like an incentive program instead – most of the stores I shop at in San Diego take a 5cents off if you bring your own bags in! It took me a short while to remember to bring them although now I just leave them in the trunk of my car!

  27. Tom Harrison - February 5, 2010

    Heather — yes, you’re right, “carbon” is overly general, and indeed CO2 is too general too. The issue is about greenhouse gasses, which have their own acronym GHG’s. But no one really knows what that means.
    So yes, I’ll be more careful to qualify references to “carbon” as meaning GHGs.

  28. Ed - February 6, 2010

    It seems that the psychology of what San Diego does might work more effectively to change people’s behavior. If you get money back you feel rewarded. If you pay a “tax” you feel punished.
    Maybe the direction to go with carbon pricing is for people to get rebates if they use less of a carbon-based resource. Cash For Clunkers caused a lot of people to get rid of less-efficient vehicles. Utilities – which wouldn’t have to build new power plants if people used less electricity – could offer discounts if a household used something less than the average for their service area.
    As Adam and others have noted, Americans have gotten used to getting something for nothing. Maybe instead of “No Free Lunch(bags)”, people would respond better to: “Pay Less Than Your Neighbor.”

  29. Anonymous - February 7, 2010

    If everyone was like you then we would not need the tax, but this is the real word and most people don’t do something unless they are forced /tax.
    So put on your big boy pants and get with the program, cause it’s working.

  30. Paul - February 7, 2010

    I sometimes go to Subway (the fast food restaurant), since it is very close to where I work. But what always annoys me about Subway is that they’re so automatic in using a plastic bag (even though the sub is already wrapped up). I really have to pay attention and be quick to say “I don’t need a bag.” at just the right moment. Irritating.
    Subway: why do you make it so hard?
    They should have that bag tax everywhere.

  31. Paul - February 7, 2010

    On the Subway topic, I went to their website and sent them the comment below. Maybe if we all sent messages like this to companies, some policies would change?
    Sent to Subway:

    Suggestion: Change your checkout policy to always ask customers whether they’d like a bag.


    I’m a strong believer in the environment, as are many of your health conscious customers. Part of being more environmentally friendly means reducing the amount of trash that we all create, especially plastic. Subway should do its part to help this issue.


    Every time I go to Subway, I have to say “I don’t need a bag.” at just the right moment, since checkout is usually quick. When I’m not quick enough on the draw to say “I don’t need a bag.”, I end up with a plastic bag that I didn’t want. This makes me feel guilty, and makes me not want to come to Subway anymore.


    Please change your checkout policy to ask, rather than assume, that customers want their sub in a plastic bag.

  32. Karen - February 8, 2010

    Checkout usually is very quick. And, I’m quicker with my green bags, a smile and a comment “No plastic or paper, please.” Even so, some checkout people will place my items in a plastic bag anyway. When that happens, I smile again, remove the item from the plastic bag and say, “This bag’s for you.”
    So much of what they do is out of habit, and they are not thinking about the environment.

  33. Paul - February 8, 2010

    Ed:
    I really like your idea and I think that you’re right: Americans would respond much better if they saw bringing their own bags as something they are being rewarded for instead of being punished for not.

  34. Maynard - February 10, 2010

    So now you make a rational choice to purchase bags which you then can reuse. The fact that you have paid for the bag is additional incentive to only purchase as many bags as you can use and use a cloth bag when making some of your purchases.

  35. Lauryn - February 10, 2010

    Paul, I wrote to Subway too. I don’t go often, but I’ve had the same experience. Moreover, last time I was at one, they had the meat portions pre-measured in disposable paper trays that they threw out after using each serving!
    My comment to Subway:
    Please have your employees ask whether customers would like a plastic bag, rather than automatically putting sandwiches in plastic bags. When I say that I don’t want a plastic bag, they often don’t hear me or understand me in time, so it would be much better if they asked customers first.
    Also, I couldn’t believe that the meat in at least one Subway was pre-portioned into disposable trays. What an incredible waste of resources! Please teach your employees how to measure out the appropriate amount of meat with a measured scoop or cup, instead of continuing such a wasteful practice of using disposable paper trays for each measured serving.

  36. Jean - February 10, 2010

    You just had a great many things to say about the U.S. consumer. Thank you so much! We do have a sense of entitlement. And you so succinctly put, we look around everywhere and see our trash waving at us from the trees and sailing by us in our streams. A nickel is less then a penny these days and yes, it is possible to get past forgetting your bags in the trunk or backseat of your car. We have a whole wardrobe of bags. One for wine bottles, vegetables, grains and dozens of totes for all the wonderful goodies offered in the markets. I do like the reuseable bag I saw a young girl wearing at the farmer’s market, “I am not a f… plastic bag!”

  37. juliz1106 - March 9, 2010

    I grew up in Massachusetts, where for about 30 years there’s been something called a “bottle tax,” which taxes 5 cents to each and every plastic bottle, aluminum can, or glass bottle. I’m sure when it began it was an annoyance, but Massachusetts is also one of the few states that gives a 5-cent refund for each and every can or bottle returned. This is a revenue-neutral kind of incentive that has over time encouraged people to recycle these bottles and cans.
    Why can’t the plastic bag tax be more like this? It obviously isn’t intended as a revenue stream, but as a way to make consumers aware of their actions. Why not also include a refund of these taxes for properly collecting and recycling these bags? There goes the entitlement issue – it is no longer just about taxing – it’s about getting money back for being responsible, while simultaneously encouraging everyone to pick up that trash littering their communities – it could bring in some extra cash!
    It really does change your way of thinking – growing up with this bottle tax made me shockingly aware of how wasteful much of the country is – now that I live in Chicago, it is almost impossible to properly recycle, because this community doesn’t have the built-in incentive to do so.

  38. Lauryn - March 9, 2010

    Julie, I agree that these methods are intended to improve behavior, rather than provide a revenue source, but not that a deposit would work for bags. The “bottle deposit” on cans and bottles is just that, not a tax, because we get the deposit back when we return the bottles. While aluminum cans and plastic soda bottles are very easy to recycle and can be made into new products and back on shelves within a matter of weeks, I believe that plastic bag recycling is not as efficient, as the different type of plastic is more difficult to ensure purity of for the recycling process. Moreover, bringing our own container to fill up with soda or other beverages is not an option at this time (other than bringing your own cup to a fast food joint with fountain sodas), while bringing your own bag is perfectly feasible, and avoids making the wasteful item in the first place (remember reduce and reuse come before recycle). So you sound like you’re on the right track, in hoping to change human behavior in little ways that maks a big difference through monetary incentives, but the bottle deposit on cans and bottles (not a tax) should not be applied to plastic bags. :) Putting the fee on a new bag when it’s used means that bringing your own bag lets you keep the money in your pocket.
    I do strongly feel that every state should be mandated to have a bottle and can deposit of some amount at the discretion of the state of at least a nickel, with each state deciding how and where the bottles would be collected. I agree that it’s disgraceful how few states have bottle deposits, considering that they have been proven to be very effective. I also strongly believe that the nickel deposit should be raised, because when it was instituted in the 70s, I believe it was, a nickel was worth more than it is now.

  39. Stainless Travel Mug - April 6, 2010

    I agree with Lauryn. Putting the fee on a new bag when it’s used means that bringing your own bag lets you keep the money in your pocket.I really enjoyed reading your post :)