Skip to comments.Plastic Bag Tax Hurts Consumers, Businesses and Does Little for the Environment
Posted on 09/20/2016 8:48:33 AM PDT by MichCapCon
In June, Washtenaw County became the first local government to approve a tax on disposable carry-out bags at the grocery store. If you forget to bring your own bags, grocers are forced to charge a 10 cent tax on every new bag you receive, paper or plastic. If you double-bag, it will cost you 20 cents.
Counties claim that they have the authority to manage solid waste collection but this is a policy that stinks on many levels. Lets start with the environment. There is little evidence that targeting a particular type of packaging with a tax will have significant impact on reducing solid waste at municipal landfills. At last count, less than 13 percent of the 254 million tons of waste was comprised of plastic. Of this 13 percent or 32,520 million tons, 3,780 million are plastic bags. Additionally, paper bag use has been declining over the years due to increasing cost and recycling.
Many consumers reuse disposable bags before putting them in the trash and when these bags become unavailable or too costly, theyll find alternatives, very likely plastic, and possibly, heavier plastic, which eventually end up in landfills.
A bag tax is bad for low-income consumers. Fixed taxes of this sort are regressive, meaning consumers with lower incomes will feel the pinch for non-compliance more than their affluent neighbors.
I dont tax poor people, County Commissioner Ronnie Peterson was quoted as saying when he voted against the tax.
A bag tax also hurts businesses, who will have to find ways to absorb will the extra cost. Profit margins at grocers are getting slimmer in part to recent trends in declining food prices. Grocers will still have to stock disposable bags but now they will have to manage extra accounting associated with the tax. Stores can be subject to fines for non-compliance and this will require added documentation.
Probably the biggest threat a local bag tax imposes is the precedent it sets for the rest of the state. Whats to stop any local government from taxing things like plastic boxes, food containers to bring home leftovers from a restaurant, plastic cups at sporting events. The possibilities are endless. Can you imagine consumers having to steer through the patchwork of local taxes?
States are starting to realize this potential for havoc by passing uniformity laws. Five states, including Michigan neighbors, Wisconsin and Indiana, approved a uniformity law within the last 18 months. Eleven states now have uniformity laws in place.
Michigans uniformity bill has cleared the State Senate and is now before the House. SB 853 prohibits local government from creating an ordinance that would regulate, restrict, tax or prohibit the use of auxillary containers, which would cover most forms of packaging. It would not ban curbside recycling programs or recycling collection centers. Littering ordinances would be unaffected.
Washtenaw Countys bag tax is scheduled to go into effect on Earth Day in April 2017 unless Michigan legislators can stop it. Taking care of the planet is a responsibility most people assume and is best done voluntarily and through public education. Forcing people to act through a tax, a tax that could vary from city to city, could jeopardize any goodwill towards the environment.
Washtenaw County = Ann Arbor = Tree-hugging climate change nuts on campus.
Everyone else will just go to Jackson or Toledo to shop.
How does this happen? How do we collectively elect people who are this stupid?
I always wonder about the sanitation factor. Most schools these days don’t allow parents to bring home baked goods to school for parties and bake sales because they were not made in a kitchen approved by the local health department. But when people are bringing their bags from homes that may not have been stored in sanitary conditions, and these bags are placed on the store checkout surfaces, what dirt, germs, fecal matter, diseases, whatever, could be transferred to food in the process?
We sold them for five dollars a piece, when word got around and more people started making their own grocery bags, surprisingly the bill disappeared off the floor...
When you fight back, they back down...it is easier for us to use these bags than ‘their’ bags, I know a lot of people use ‘their’ bags for different things, like bathroom trash liners, etc. but this way, you know where they have been, you know who handles them, ‘their’ bags you don't know where they have been or who has handled them...
I use those as trash can liners around my house.
Now I will have to buy plastic trash bags which are much larger and thicker and will hurt the environment far more.
Your concerns are well founded. This has already been found to be true. The whole thing with plastic bags is something invented by leftists. It all started when they demanded that we use plastic instead of paper. Now plastic is evil as well.
Everything leftists touch turns to crap. There are no exceptions to this rule that I'm aware of.
It's definitely an issue. Lots of studies have found that resusable bags are contaminated with bacteria, norovirus, etc.
My county has a tax on bags. I'm not sure how much plastic the ban saves. I used to use the plastic bags from stores as trash bags. That plastic was so flimsy that after a couple of days in the sun it would disintegrate. Now I buy plastic trash bags that are much thicker.
Back in the day we used cloth diapers, paper bags for groceries and our trash, Tupperwear for food storage, cotton and wool for clothing which would actually last for several years, real wood furniture which lasted forever and glass bottles. Then along came these same greenies who refused to wash diapers, fought against cutting down trees which are a renewable product, cans and plastic bottles for beverages, synthetic fabric for clothes and demanded plastic replace most everything. They own it and they can deal with it but not on my dime.
Maybe we’ll have to start bringing our own China, glass and silverware to restaurants to avoid paying the new “dishwashing surcharge.”
I almost got arrested at a self checkout lane in a California sanctuary city a few months ago for taking a paper bag. I don’t live there so I didn’t know their stupid laws. It’s early and I’m on a consulting job so I like to get some fresh bread and snacks for the day. The ONLY line open was a self checkout. So I checkout, pay my due, than see there are no bags. But there’s bags by one of the regular check lanes. So I grab one and throw in my goodies and start to walk out the door. Security stops me FOR SHOPLIFTING!!! They have me on camera stealing a bag. WTF??? A city where illegals can commit crime willie-nillie and I’m getting harassed for taking a paper bag. Luckily I have an out of state license and there was NO ONE at checkout so I got off with a warning and an order to never return to the store.
Don’t worry. I’ll be happy to stay far far away from that liberal mess of a city.
Only college educated smart people can be so stupid.
I am old enough to remember what trash day was like before the invention of plastic trash bags.
Talk about an unsanitary germ factory!
Sounds like these foo-foo places can get ridiculous. As at Aldi’s they sell sacks, understood, but one would expect such sacks to have prices posted next to them and a way to scan or punch them into one’s order if it is self-checkout.
Even Starbucks will still give me a sack if I ask for it.
I today’s world, if it’s about the “environment”, it’s actually about the TAX. Those entrepreneurial sweethearts in government are just looking for another income stream.
‘How does this happen? How do we collectively elect people who are this stupid?’
Yes we do elect people who are not so much stupid as just greedy. I live in a small town in KY and our greedy city council voted to issue a 3% sales tax on all restaurants inside the city limits. Do not think this is legal since you should not be able to tax one type of business and not all others. Needless to say I no longer eat out and will not till they do away with this tax.
That’s why liberals love it!
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