In a month and a half, Montgomery County's tax on paper and plastic bags goes into effect. It isn't just shoppers who will make adjustments -- retailers must make changes so that they can charge the 5-cent per-bag tax, one cent of which they get to keep. The rest will go the county for environmental programs and clean-up.
Greg Ten Eyck is with Safeway, and he says they are making changes to their registers: "There is a computer adjustment that we must make for that. One of the other major parts of this is we have to train our staff to ask the customer "Do you want bags today? And if so how many?' So that we can correctly charge the customer."
Even though they've already done this in D.C., Ten Eyck calls it an inconvenience. But he adds there is a reason they're partnering with Montgomery County to pass out reusable bags: "The effect of it does reduce the amount of bags we are distributing. So there is a cost savings to us, because we are purchasing fewer paper and plastic bags."
Several other large retailers are also passing out reusable bags, including Safeway's biggest competitor, Giant.