Blowin’ in the Wind

2009 January 8
by ASHP Staff

Plastic bags are truly everywhereI’ve been refusing plastic bags for a while now. It’s just been a personal bias of mine: I hate them piling up under the sink, filling the trash and blowing in the wind (sorry American Beauty). But lately these ubiquitious accoutrements of daily life are being called into question. Would a five cent tax discourage use? I don’t know if it would necessarily anymore than the “Ipod Tax” will discourage downloading (legally!) music or the “obesity tax” will discourage the consumption of ordinary soda. 

In the comments below the NY Daily News article there’s a myriad of objections; however, for the very reasons these people object- this may be the perfect time to implement taxes to change detrimental acitivites. In the care free days of cheap gas and a good economy, perhaps five cents wouldn’t have such an acute effect; instead people are focusing more on their income and may decide that carrying a canvas bag is worth the savings. 

It worked for Ikea. In only one year of charging five cents for bags, demand dropped so steeply that the chain eliminated them altogether. 

Also, to keep things in perspective:
Estimated Income from Plastic bag tax: $16 million
Estimated Savings from MTA Service Cuts in doomsday scenario: $25.19 million dollars 

Maybe the MTA Should start taxing plastic bags?

and by the way, I also wanted to take a second to announce that Picturing US History now has an RSS feed as does this blog. If you’re curious to learn more about this RSS thing, this is a good resource to get you started. We’re going to be expanding RSS to many of our sites in the coming months, so stay tuned!

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