Even people who agree that plastic bags are terrible might balk at the prospect of charging a nominal fee for a paper bag.  Some retailers in particular may worry that a bag charge will hurt sales. Here are four reasons why a bag surcharge is important.

Charging for Paper Bags

1.  PAPER BAGS ARE ALSO HARMFUL TO THE ENVIRONMENT.


2. A BAG FEE IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO CHANGE CONSUMER BEHAVIOR. 

  • The goal of bag legislation is not only to cut down on plastic but also to end waste, and encourage the use of reusable bags.
  • A study in Australia found that 72 percent of customers accepted bags offered for free.  When a nominal fee was charged, usage dropped to 27 percent.


3.  A BAG FEE HELPS OFFSET RETAIL COSTS


4.  BUSINESSES ARE NOT ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY BAG FEES


5.  BAG FEES ARE THE TREND, GLOBALLY AND NATIONALLY

  • Denmark has had a bag tax since 1993.  Other European countries where consumers pay for plastic shopping bags include Ireland, Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
  • Ireland has had a bag tax for consumers since 2002.  It started at 15 euro cents per bag, and was raised in 2007 to 22 euro cents.  Within five months of the measure’s introduction, bag usage fell by over 90 percent, and litter has been drastically reduced.
  • In addition to Washington, DC, and Boulder, CO, laws instituting bag fees ranging from 5 cents to $1 have been signed in Cambridge, MA, the entire state of California, and many other cities nationwide.
  • The 10 cent fee proposed for Williamstown will likely soon be a statewide law in Massachusetts
  • We can embrace the future or be dragged into it.