On January 1, 2012, Montgomery County, Maryland will begin taxing shopping bags to consumers who need them. Consumers will start to see ads and signs about the $.05 tax around Thanksgiving up to January 1. Four of the five cent tax will go towards litter cleanup of the county. Plastic bags make up the largest part of litter collected throughout Montgomery and the county pays about $3 million a year for litter clean up.
Thanksgiving is a good time to start reminding consumers of the tax since Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, is the day after Thanksgiving. The tax does not start until January, however, the city would like it’s citizens to start using custom reusable shopping bags out of habit before the tax starts. Montgomery County is less interested in collecting money than getting it’s citizens to use recycled shopping bags.
In fact, Montgomery County will hand out 30,000 reusable shopping bags to low income residents before the end of the year. The county spent about $1.00 on each reusable recycled bag, and will hand out 1 per family. However, Montgomery County hopes that local retailers will partner with the county to hand out more free reusable shopping bags.
It will be interesting to see how much the bag tax earns Montgomery County in 2012. If all goes well, consumers will use more reusable shopping bags to reduce litter. That is the true goal of the county, not to make money to clean up more and more litter. For more on this story, go to WMAL radio.