Many cities, like several in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, have embraced local “bag bans” that place a tax on paper and plastic bags in grocery stores, convenience stores, and other retail shops. However, U.S. Representative Jim Moran wants to go one step further and introduce a bill to the House of Representatives that would put a 5-cent tax on paper and plastic bags in all 50 states. The tax revenue would be earmarked for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which protects and maintains valuable lands like National Parks. Moran says, “small steps, like replacing plastic bags with reusable bags, yield large returns in reducing the amount of trash we create. The results of this waste can be found in our oceans, now home to floating landfills 10 times the size of Virginia.
Hopefully, as more cities start implementing regulations on plastic bag usage, legislators and citizens will start to see the benefits of these bag bans and make a country-wide bag ban a reality that we all can support and be proud of. Until then, we can all do our best to protect the environment by bring our own reusable bags when shopping. Many reusable grocery bags are made of recycled materials themselves, making them an eco-friendly replacement of plastic bans. Set an example for those around you and remember your reusable bags next time you’re out shopping.