Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Bag Tax for DC?

Tomorrow, the DC City Councilmen will be voting on the Anacostia Rivershed Cleanup and Protection Act of 2009.

The act would put a 5 cent tax on plastic bags and would ban the use of non-recyclable plastic bags, ensuring that all recyclable bags were labeled as such as well. The retailer would keep 1 cent (or 2 cents if the place has a credit program, e.g. Whole Foods) and the rest would go to the cleanup of the Anacostia River, historically the recipient of all of the District's trash.

What about low income residents, you ask? According to, "before the fee takes effect, the city will conduct an intensive outreach campaign that includes not only public education, but also provides reusable carryout bags to residents for free. The city will work with service providers to distribute multiple reusable bags to seniors and low-income households."

Why is this so important, and what can you do?

20,000 tons of trash enter the Anacostia River EVERY YEAR, and, according to a recent study by the DOE, plastic bags, Styrofoam, snack wrappers, bottles and cans as 85% of the trash in the River.

The Act would be a great model of environmental justice. It would work toward the goal of promoting a sustainable lifestyle, make such a lifestyle available to those across socioeconomic lines, and work to ensure that all citizens have the right to a clean environment.

What can you do?

Visit the website above (the source of my stats and photo), sign their petition, and follow these steps as well.

Please take 5 minutes out of your busy day to make 5 calls to the key Councilmembers whose votes will decide the future of the Anacostia:

* At-Large Councilmember Kwame Brown – 202-724-8174 (
* At-Large Councilmember Michael Brown – 202-724-8105 (
* At-Large Councilmember David Catania – 202-724-7772 (
* Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans – 202-724-8058 (
* Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh – 202-724-8062 (

We suggest you say something like this (feel free to edit and make it personal):

“My name is ___________ and I live in _______________. I wanted to call and thank Councilmember __________________ for their support of the Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Act of 2009. When they vote this Thursday morning, I hope they’ll stay strong in their support to put renewed energy behind cleaning up the Anacostia River and making a lasting impact on the health of our communities.”

The District may be your home for only four years, but your impact can last far beyond that.

1 comment:

  1. this fee will do nothing to actually clean up the Anacostia, it's budget gap bill. Don't believe the hype