Are you bagging it yet? It appears a lot of DC residents are taking their own bags to the stores when they go shopping. However, if the current pace continues, the revenue stream won’t turn into the flood that city leaders had expected, the Washington Business Journal reported.
In the first month after the 5 cent tax on disposable bags became law, the city netted $150,000, according to the DC Office of Tax and Revenue, the Business Journal reported. At that rate, it’s estimated the tax would generate roughly $1.8 million in this first year -- a lot less than the $3 million to $4 million that bag tax supporters were expecting to see.
Still, the tax has a lot more people reaching for those recyclables. Normally, DC residents use about 22.5 million disposable bags per month. In January, they only used about 3 million bags.
The bag tax took effect Jan. 1 as part of the city’s Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Act. All of the money raised goes into a river cleanup fund. Bag tax advocates cited a study by the D.C. Department of the Environment that showed charging for bags could eliminate up to 47 percent of the trash that winds up in tributaries of the Anacostia River and could eliminate 21 percent of the trash in the river itself, the Business Journal reported.
The tax, first introduced by Councilman Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), faced stiff opposition from some retailers, bag manufacturers and charities that use plastic bags to distribute their donations.