As many of my fellow D.C. residents already know, we now have to pay 5 cents for each plastic shopping bag we take at grocery, drug and liquor stores. The law was instituted on January 1st this year in an effort to help close a nearly $104 million budget gap and to generate funds to help clean up the Anacostia River.
While many people are annoyed by yet another ploy by the government to tax its citizens, I think its a great idea. I’ve had a number of reusable shopping bags for what seems like years, but I always forget them on my way to the store. Last week I was charged almost a $1.00 for plastic shopping bags, and I was happy to pay it. I just throw all those bags away anyway, and they probably end up in the Anacostia for all I know.
But this week was different. I remembered my bags! And so did at least 10 or so other shoppers I saw with reusable bags in their carts. If my Safeway at 5th and K is any indication, then it seems like the bag fee is affecting people’s habits and they are changing behaviors. So good work D.C. You may not get $104 million out of it, but at least people are listening and grocery shopping is a little “greener” now.
Remember to bring your reusable bags everyone! Or bring some extra quarters.