Plastic Bag Fee Recommended for Athens-Clarke County

Posted by — October 15, 2009 3:16 pm

Co-chair’s of the Athens-Clarke task force on recycling, Doug Lowry and Kelly Girtz, have recommended that a plastic bag fee be evaluated for Athens-Clarke County. The ten cent per bag fee would encourage residents to make a switch from single-use plastic bags to reusable bags. Three cents from the fee would become profit to retailers and seven cents would benefit county government.

The task force plans to seek input from local businesses and officials in surrounding counties before moving forward with the fee. They will take plenty of time to ensure the public is educated on the environmental harms of disposable plastic bags. Once the environmental impacts of plastic bags are understood by the community, behavior change may come regardless of the fee.

“If we took this step, we’d be the first city in the Southeast to do so,” said Kelly Girtz. Some may be opposed but something needs to be done. The flimsy nature of plastic bags makes them difficult to recycle and they are a menace to the environment. A fee would give consumers incentive to remember their reusable bags. Those without reusable bags could make a small investment in washable, high quality reusable bags. With the average American using 500 plastic bags per year, a small investment in a few great reusable bags will pay for itself in no time.

While Athens-Clarke County is the first in the Southeast to consider a plastic bag fee, they are among several others around the world to consider fees or bans. Visit our interactive map to see a complete list of locations around the world that have taken action to reduce or eliminate plastic bag waste.

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