Thursday, October 22, 2009

Plastic Bag Reduction Act of 2009

I was at the Super Walmart by my house (yes, I know) getting a ton of play-doh for an activity for the technical communications class I'm teaching this semester, and as I was leaving I stopped by the greeter to show her my receipt, which I've gotten into the habit of doing when I bring reusable shopping bags. I've gotten stopped at the door because the bags are opaque so I guess they feel hinky about letting me leave if they can't see the contents. After looking at my receipt the woman admired my bag -- it was from Ward's Supermarket. Ward's has probably the biggest reusable polyprop bags in town; they cost something like 2.49US but they are HUGE.

After telling her where she could get the bags, she asked, "What do you think about the 5-cent charge for plastic bags?" I was nonplussed, as this was the first I had heard about it. I asked her, "In Gainesville?" and she replied, "Everywhere, starting January 1st, 2010."

I didn't say whether or not I liked the idea (which I did, natch) but I said, "well, in Dublin they've been doing that for a few years, now, and they cost 9-cents there, so 5-cents is a pretty good deal." I walked out, thinking "how come I didn't know about this?"

So, as soon as I got home I started investigating. This is not law, yet. It's something Senator Jim Moran of Virginia proposed in April of this year, called the Plastic Bag Reduction Act of 2009. As of right now, H.R. 2091, as it is affectionately known, is still in committee.

Here's the summary:

Plastic Bag Reduction Act of 2009 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to require retailers to pay an excise tax on single-use carryout bags. Allows refunds of such tax for retailers who have a program for recycling such bags. Establishes in the Treasury the Single-Use Carryout Bag Trust Fund to hold tax revenues generated by this Act. Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to make payments from such Trust Fund into the land and water conservation fund provided for in the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965. Directs the Comptroller General to study and report to Congress on the effectiveness of this Act in reducing the use of single-use carryout bags.

All I can say is, YAY!!!!!1!1
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