U.S. Nationwide Plastic Bag Fee Bill Announced

U.S. Nationwide Plastic Bag Fee Bill Announced

Washington, D.C., April 22, 2013 (PBBR) - U.S. Representative Jim Moran, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, announced a bill entitled, "Trash Reduction Act" of 2013. The bill was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives on Earth Day.

See update: National Disposable Bag Tax in Congress

US Rep. Jim Moran. Author: Matthew Bradley. Uploaded to flickr.com. Licensed by Creative Commons  Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
US Rep. Jim Moran. Author: Matthew Bradley. Uploaded to flickr.com. Licensed by Creative Commons.

The Trash Reduction Act would impose a five-cent fee on single-use plastic and paper bags at every retail store across the nation. The fee, in effect, would reduce littering and encourage the use of reusable bags.

Rep. Moran stated, “According to the Environment Protection Agency, the average American throws away about 4.4 pounds of trash each day. The results of this waste can be found in our oceans, now home to floating landfills ten times the size of Virginia. Small steps like replacing plastic bags with reusable ones yields large returns in reducing the amount of trash we create.”

The Trash Reduction Act of 2013 is modeled after Washington, D.C.'s disposable bag fee implemented January 1st, 2010. With the fee in place, by the end of 2010, plastic bag usage dropped from the 2009 monthly average of 22.5 million to just 3 million. The fee was powerful.

The U.S. International Trade Commission reported in 2009 that 102 billion plastic bags were used in the United States. As plastic items break down, any toxic additives they contain - including flame retardants, anti-microbials, and plasticizers - may be released into the environment. Many of these chemicals may disrupt the endocrine system - the delicately balanced set of hormones and glands that affect virtually every organ and cell. In marine environments, excess estrogen has led to the discoveries of male fish and seagulls with female sex organs.

The Trash Reduction Act mandates that revenue generated from the fee would support the nation's Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Land and Water Conservation Fund program provides matching grants to States and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities as well as funding for shared federal land acquisition and conservation strategies.

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Cover photo: US Capitol Bldg. This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Noclip at the wikipedia project.