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RE: [greenyes] Plastics News Editorial on Grocery Plastic Bag Bans
Is Congress currently considering a tax on plastic bags?  Does anyone know where I can find this information?
As a note, I spent this past summer in Ireland and the number of people in grocery stores with their own bags/ boxes was astounding.  I was very impressed and it would be a really great thing if that happened over here!

Heide Feldman <hfeldman@no.address> wrote:
About plastic vs. paper bags...paper will decompose in the environment,
both along the roads and in the ocean. 
An example of pro-active policies...passengers boarding planes to go to
the Annapurna region in Nepal must leave all plastic bags behind at the
airport...the Environmental Trust there does not allow them since they
are considered one of the worst polluters in the wilderness. (The
others are water bottles. That problem is being addressed with water
filtering and refilling stations in various villages.)

Heidi Feldman
Public Education Coordinator
Monterey Regional Waste Management District
Tel.: 831/384-5313 FAX: 831/384-3567

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Anderson [mailto:anderson@no.address] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2003 1:12 PM
To: GreenYes
Subject: [greenyes] Plastics News Editorial on Grocery Plastic Bag Bans

PLASTICS NEWS - 9/8/03Opinion
Heading off debate on bag bans & taxes

When you see headlines like - "Are plastic grocery bags sacking the
environment?" - on the Web site of a respected publication like National
Geographic, then it looks like the battle is already lost.
Well, the battle isn't lost, but it looks like it's getting ready to
up, and soon. The fight will be over bans and taxes on plastic bags.

It's not a new battle, to be sure. Environmentalists and paper bag
have been bad-mouthing plastic bags for at least 20 years. But now, as
product bans and taxes have gained traction elsewhere, it looks like the
plastics industry will have to gear up to fight similar proposals in

National Geographic's Sept. 2 story certainly is balanced, but it still
doesn't paint a pretty picture: "The totes are everywhere. They sit
up and stuffed into the one that hangs from the pantry door. They line
bathroom trash bins. They carry clothes to the gym. They clutter
They flap from trees. They float in the breeze. They clog roadside
They drift on the high seas. They fill sea turtle bellies."

That pretty much summarizes the story. Plastics successfully have taken
bulk of the bag market - at least 80 percent - and consumers frequently
ingenious ways to reuse them. But many also end up as litter, which is
finding its way to the far corners of the planet. One marine scientist
predicts plastic bags will be washing up in Antarctica within 10 years.

The magazine suggests two solutions: a tax on plastic bags, and more
widespread use of reusable shopping bags. You can be sure legislators
activists will spend more time looking at taxes than replacements. After
all, it's impossible to mandate use of reusable bags, and a tax has the
added benefit of generating revenue for the state. Ireland is touted as
success story - its tax equivalent to about 20 cents per bag has cut use
about 95 percent and dramatically reduced bag litter, said Friends of
Irish Environment.

Sure, charging the public a fee for something they now get for free
cut consumption. And that's not all bad. Try, for example, ordering a
burger from a drive-through restaurant, and you know you're going to get
in a bag. The same goes for a single loaf of bread at a supermarket, or
anything more than a pack of cigarettes and a gallon of milk at a
convenience store.

But there's no need to single out plastic bags. Paper bags create litter
too. And plastic bags are both reusable and recyclable - many groceries
collect used bags and sell them to plastic lumber makers.




[For full editorial go to]

Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell (608) 438-9062
email: anderson@no.address

Michelle Smith
Recycling Progam
Office of Environmental Health and Safety
Providence College
Providence, RI  02918

(401) 865-1881

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