Heather Zwicker’s September 17 article “Board approves 5 cent bag tax” helps to shine a light on the limitations of carryout bag taxes rapidly spreading across the state and their negative effects on Virginia families.
These new taxes will add an unnecessary burden on households throughout Virginia who are already affected by rising food costs, economic instability, increased costs of living, and the ongoing global health crisis.
While a tax of five cents per bag may not mean much to the activists pushing these policies, for struggling Virginia families, the taxes represent just one more burden. Concerningly, research from the University of Ottawa on bag fees makes it clear that our vulnerable neighbors are more likely to be burdened by these regressive policies.
Now is not the time to add costs at the checkout counter by forcing consumers and stores to switch to more expensive and reusable bags imported from overseas that are made from plastics that cannot be recycled.
Instead, we should work together to promote increased recycling of American-made plastic grocery bags through the industry-pioneered convenient store take back programs. Regressive taxes that force consumers to use alternative products with greater environmental impacts aren’t the answer.
Director of the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance