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Fenty Signs Bag Bill

Starting in January, consumers in the District will have to get their nickels ready if they don't bring reusable bags when they shop at the grocery store, drug store and other retail outlets that sell food.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) has signed the bill expected to significantly curb the use of paper and plastic bags, which officials hope will reduce the amount of trash that makes its way in to the Anacostia River. The council unanimously approved the legislation last month.

Businesses will charge customers five cents for every bag they take out of the store. That money will go into the new Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Fund.

The District Department of the Environment will begin a campaign to publicize the five-cent fee by October and will set up a public-private partnership to distribute free reusable bags to those who need them.

"Under this new law, the simple steps we take every day will result in a healthier Anacostia River," Fenty said in a statement. "Disposable bags are a menace to our waterways, and dramatically cutting down on their use will have a measurable impact almost immediately."

By Nikita R Stewart  |  July 7, 2009; 2:14 PM ET
Categories:  Mayor Fenty  
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It is a start. It should have been at least $0.25 to prevent knuckle heads from getting plastic bags. DC is littered with plastic and paper bags on the streets. I've been using reusable bags now for the last 3yrs, and will never go back to plastic or paper. I also do not have dozens and dozens of plastic bags underneath my sink.

Posted by: jabreal00 | July 7, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I commend Mayor Fenty on this effort - and although I do agree that 5 cents is not a major inconvenience to most people, it will serve as a slight aggravation that entice people to purchase their own reusable bags.

Posted by: khornyan | July 7, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Congrats Mr. Fenty. You just guaranteed more food shopping will take place outside the District than within it.

Positive connotations? Perhaps. Real world efficiency? Not a chance.

Posted by: randy_boyd | July 7, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Will the revenue raised from the plastic bag tax offset the decrease in sales tax collected when retail consumers move their shopping outside the city?

Posted by: hockeypucks | July 7, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse


It might lower your grocery bill when retailers don't have to buy the "free" bags in the first place.

Posted by: rallycap | July 7, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

randy_boyd, that's a fantastic example of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Are you really going to get in your car and drive out of the district to save a quarter or so on bags, but in the process spending more than that on gas (not to mention time)? I think not.

And that's assuming you have a car. It would be pretty stupid for someone to hop on metro or a bus and spend $2+ round trip just to save on the bag fee.

Posted by: nsogkgb | July 7, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of plastic bags: it is time to fire Metro GM Catoe for his fine management before and after the June 22 accident. That is my five cents, in advance.

Posted by: axolotl | July 7, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

As a resident of Anacostia and owner of a business name after the river, Anacostia River Realty. I say great.The bill won't solve all of the pollution problems of the Anacostia River, but it's a start.

Darrin D. Davis, Principal Broker/Owner

Posted by: RealtorDarrinDavis | July 8, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Ok, let me get this straight. Your encouraging people to stop using plastic bags. Plastic bags that are mostly made in the U.S. and provide jobs. Plastic bags that are RECYCLABLE as a 2 or 4. In their stead we are to go with reusable bags. Mostly cloth, mostly made in CHINA, that bastion of environmental law. So you have transferred our pollution to them, temporarily. With more "victories" like these, our environment will be done before you know it.

Posted by: Terps85 | July 11, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

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