VOTE: Should there be a fee on plastic shopping bags?
Yes, we’ve been down this well-trodden road before.
The one over the use of plastic grocery bags and how injurious it is to the environment, etc.
Whereas, once upon a time, Mercer County voters had a ballot question asking whether or not a fee should be placed on using plastic bags – which, by the way, was overwhelming rejected - the town of Princeton decides to go it alone and proposes placing a fee of anywhere between 10 and 25 cents for plastic or paper bags used by shoppers. This is according to Mayor Liz Lempert, who says the issue is being looked into as to whether or not Princeton would be allowed to do so.
So why all the animus against plastic bags.
Well, for one, they don’t break down once they’re thrown away. Some proponents of the fee claim that it takes up to a thousand years in a landfill before they break down – and as they do, they emit toxins which find their way back into the water supply as well as the food chain.
Resident Daniel Harris, a member of the group urging for the bag fee claims the following:
"Plastics are poisonous. We don't have room in our landfills for materials that won't decompose for 1,000 years." "Chemicals from plastics leach into our ground water; we drink it. They get into the ocean; the fish eat the plastics; we eat the fish. We are poisoning ourselves."
Here’s the deal!
It’s sounds to me like you’re being punished for using plastic bags in the first place. Would you, as the consumer ,be willing to fork over another 15 to 25 cents just to use them? Isn’t this just another “tax” – with the money going “God knows where?”
Under the proposal, merchants would use the fee to purchase reusable bags for customers and to keep records on the process.
"The draft ordinance asks for bookkeeping so that the entire municipality can measure the success of the ordinance after adoption."
Harris seems to have it all figured out, doesn’t he? Placing an extra burden on business – and on the consumer alike.
When this had come up once before; I proposed that there be a 5 cent or so deposit on the bags – which can be taken to a reclamation center and returned for cash.
Much the same way bottles had (and in some cases still have) a deposit placed on them.
It encourages recycling them – and allows consumers to choose between cashing them in – or using them for things like cat and dog waste.
Besides, they make great currency for the homeless.
Finally, how practical is it to try and discourage the use of the bags when all you’re doing is bagging your trash in even larger plastic bags?
What of them? Should we put Glad out of business?
For a proposal like this to work, it would need to be imposed statewide. Otherwise consumers look to other towns in which to shop.
Paying a fee to use the bags with the caveat of there being a deposit on them makes more sense to me - but again, would have to be imposed statewide.