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September 24, 2021

Arlington Greens support 5 cents per plastic bag tax, but prefer a total ban on plastic bags

environment — @ 2:10 pm

To: The Arlington County Board September 16, 2021

We would like to encourage you to approve a 5 cent per plastic bag tax for single use plastic bags given away at supermarkets and large retailers.  It is my understanding that the county board will consider this tax at your September 18 meeting.

The City of Roanoke is the first locality in our state to adopt this bag tax.   Arlington should similarly adopt the tax as it will greatly reduce the volume of plastic bags now given away at mass retailers in Arlington.

This tax is not perfect since the General Assembly only included large retail chains and many small businesses will not be affected.   Nevertheless, based on the experience of other US cities, this tax will cut the volume of plastic bags in commerce; as you know, the vast majority of plastic bags are not recycled but end up in solid waste or in our oceans and streams and rivers and bays causing environmental damage.  The county has banned plastic bags from the recycling program as well so few options to recycled these bags exist here.   

We the Arlington Greens over a decade ago asked you to simply ban all plastic bags using in commercial business in Arlington using your legal authority from Virginia solid waste regulations that the Virginia Department of Environmental quality said authorized such an ordinance. 

But you collectively said no to this sensible ban.   Many countries of the world and some US states simply ban single-use plastic bags in commerce and that is the most sensible policy we should adopt here in Arlington.
So we support the 5 cent bag tax even though it is only a half way measure that will not eliminate the menace of plastic bags which should be banned. 

  We ask you to once again consider a simple ban of plastic bags from all businesses here in Arlington and that way we could get rid of this menace.

John Reeder chairman  the Arlington Greens