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Disposable Bag Fee: Putting a Mandatory Price Tag on Change

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The quarter might become a triple-threat of the coin world soon if LA County and Heal the Bay have their way in Sacramento. Adding to the two biggest reasons why the 25 cent piece is the most coveted piece of cupronickel in your pocket--laundry and parking meters, of course--bill AB 2829 calls for "a mandatory fee on the distribution of single-use plastic shopping bags at all large grocery stores and pharmacies statewide." The bill differs from a previous one by another lawmaker, which called for reductions on a longer-range basis, and is not endorsed by Heal the Bay.

Heal the Bay's press release explains:

In a bid to encourage consumers to bring their own reusable bags, store owners would be required to charge 25 cents for each plastic bag requested by shoppers. Funds raised would be directed back to local governments on a per-capita basis for litter prevention and reduction efforts. Members of the Assembly’s Natural Resource Committee are scheduled to vote on the measure Monday. The bill has the support of a wide range of environmental, business and government groups.

While toting your favorite un-plastic bag on shopping jaunts has become in vogue (and
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de riguer soon in major stores like IKEA), the per-bag surcharge will ideally radically alter the way people shop, and hopefully lessen the burden shoppers' bags are currently putting on the environment.Support the bill? Heal the Bay is asking you to write a letter to the committee members. More info about the bill, including an option to download it in full, and letter-writing is available on their site.

Photo by swanksalot via Flickr