The Bag Law Arrives with the New Year

As everyone knows by now, January 1 brought not only football, resolutions and parties to Montgomery County, but the new carryout bag law. Under the law, a five-cent charge is placed on each paper or plastic carryout bag provided by retail establishments in the County to customers at the point of sale, pickup or delivery. However, shoppers can avoid the charge by bringing their own reusable bags.

The revenues that are collected -- above administrative costs -- will go to the County’s Water Quality Protection Fund that pays for things such as stormwater management, watershed restoration and litter clean-up. Plastic bags are one of the top four items found in County streams and stormwater controls. And, taxpayers bear the financial burden of cleaning up or removing this litter -- more than $3 million a year in Montgomery County for code enforcement, street sweeping and litter clean-up. That’s why the more people who use reusable bags and the less revenue the County receives the better it is for taxpayers who save money on cleanup and for our waterways that can then remain clean and healthy. It’s not about the money, it’s about doing the right thing for the environment.

On January 3, County Executive Ike Leggett handed out hundreds of reusable bags to shoppers at the Safeway in Hillandale, while Council President Roger Berliner and volunteers distributed hundreds more around the County. Throughout that one day, nearly 1,000 bags were given out among sites at: downtown Bethesda, Little Bitts cake and candy supply store in Wheaton, Walmart in Germantown and the Safeway at King Farm. All told, more than 40,000 bags have been distributed so far, with another 30,000 to come.

Various local businesses have stepped up to donate bags which have gone, primarily, to low-income families/individuals and seniors through local non-profits and other organizations serving these populations. Thanks to the retailers who have helped as many residents as possible receive bags and to the volunteers who gave out bags at each site.

POSTED AT: Friday, January 20, 2012 | 6:00:00 AM |
News and Information from Montgomery County Government, Public Information Office.
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