Thursday, December 9, 2010

Farmers Get Behind Plastic Bag Ban or Fee

The Virginian-Pilot today editorializes in support of a statewide plastic bag ban or fee:
Drive past a farm field in or near Hampton Roads these days, and you're likely to see a bumper crop of plastic shopping bags. The cotton, corn and soy are gone, but the seeds of our throwaway culture yield an unending harvest. [...]

The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, whose members are weary of damage to machinery and harm to livestock, is already on board.

As the Farm Bureau can attest, there's more than aesthetics - or mowing time - at stake here. In addition to helping livestock and harvests, a ban would benefit wildlife and marine life, particularly sea turtles, that eat or become entangled in the plastic.
So to recap, farmers will benefit. Our environment will benefit. Retail stores will benefit by spending less money on giving away bags & under Del. Adam Ebbin's plan, retaining 1 or 2 cents of the fee on each bag, depending whether they offer customers a carryout bag credit program for reusable bags. Virginia's budget will benefit not just from the revenue of the fee, but from saving money on picking up discarded bags (Maryland’s Department of Transportation spends $29 per bag of litter collected along the state’s highways & counties spend millions more).

Why not do it? Accusations of nanny statism? I mean, isn't the current state of affairs the definition of nannyism? If you carelessly discard a plastic bag, we all have to pay higher taxes to fund a worker to go pick it up. Isn't a bag fee a way to encourage personal responsibility?
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