SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): Durham City Council may soon charge its residents for use of single-use plastic or paper bags. The proposed 10-cents fee per bag will be applicable to customers at stores and points-of-sale in Durham, including restaurants, grocery stores, retailers and other places that currently use these types of bags. Residents on WIC, SNAP, Medicaid and other government assistances would be exempted from the tax.
The proposal for bag tax was presented to the Durham City Council by Duke Law Clinic, which has been studying about the impacts of single-use plastic bags in Durham for the past four years, in partnership with a non-profit ‘Don’t Waste Durham’. The Clinic has been encouraging residents to bring their own reusable bags for shopping.
The research had cited that the City needs to spend approximately $87,000 every year in plastic waste removal and recycling. This is in addition to the spending of nearly $2.5 million every year by businesses.
The implementation of the proposal will likely reduce plastic waste in the City. It will encourage businesses to shift to using paper bags or reusable thicker bags in place of plastic alternatives.
Meantime, the N.C. Retail Merchants Association has opposed the idea, saying that educating consumers instead of taxing them is a better idea.