Paper, Plastic, or Canvas?

Yesterday, a fellow Metblogger Tweeted with a “Red Alert”:  the DC Council had passed the five-cent plastic bag tax!  The Post reported that “The D.C. Council voted unanimously yesterday to assess a 5-cent tax on paper and plastic bags to try to discourage their use, putting the District at the forefront of efforts nationwide to promote reusable shopping bags.”  The tax will apply to food-service providers, grocers, and pharmacies.  Could the District be on track to join San Francisco as the only major city to ban plastic bags outright?

The bag tax is designed to limit pollution in the Anacostia and its tributaries — proceeds will be used for the Anacostia River Cleanup Fund.  Will the city distribute any reusable bags to its residents to get them started?  Businesses who sell reusable bags will qualify for a rebate of one penny on each bag sold (or, of they offer a discount for using the bags, two cents).  Will they subsidize the price of reusable bags for their customers?

I’ve seen reactions to the news ranging from, “Hooray!  Let’s dance with glee,” to “Oh great.  Another tax for District residents.”  Regardless of the means or how one feels about the bag tax, though, I hope we can all agree that we don’t want the Anacostia looking like this any more:

Anacostia River, near Poplar Point

Anacostia River, near Poplar Point

The Council will need to vote again on the measure before it goes to the Mayor for his signature.  What do you think, DC?

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