To help remind Montgomery County residents and shoppers to keep their reusable bags handy when visiting local retailers this holiday season -- and beyond -- the County has launched a public education campaign featuring the slogan, “Holiday Shopping? Bring Your Bag; Fight Litter.” Ads on Ride On buses and at bus shelters and a commercial airing on cable television have been created as visual reminders to those shopping in the County.
On January 1 of this year, the County passed a bag law requiring shoppers to pay five cents for paper or plastic bags provided by stores to help reduce litter and improve water quality.
Plastic bags are one of the top four items found in County streams and stormwater controls. Bag revenues are directed to the Water Quality Protection Fund (WQPF) that pays for things such as stormwater management, watershed restoration and litter clean-up.
“Litter is a public health nuisance; it pollutes the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers (our source of drinking water) and drives up taxpayer-funded cleanup costs,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “In fact, County agencies spend about $3 million a year to reduce litter and bags are the most common component of this litter stream. This is too much money to spend on a problem that is wholly preventable.”
“Reusable bags are not just for shopping at grocery stores,” said Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Director Bob Hoyt. “I’ve noticed that most people are remembering to bring their reusable bags to the grocery store. However, during the holidays – and year round, as well – we’d like residents to remember to bring their bags when they go to the mall, big box store, pharmacy, toy store or local business – or anytime. Keep a bag that rolls up in a coat pocket or purse – so you’ll always have a bag with you.”
“We know that in the first 18 months of their bag law, the District of Columbia reduced litter by 65 percent,” Leggett noted. “We’re confident that Montgomery County can have the same results.”
For more information about the law and to view the holiday shopping campaign materials, visit the bag law website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/bag.
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