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NEWS
February 8, 2014
I was amazed to learn the Baltimore City Council has failed to pass a 10-cent tax on plastic bags provided by grocers and other vendors ( "Bag tax economics," Jan. 22). Baltimore City lags many other large cities in the U.S. in the pursuit of eliminating this wasteful means to carry home one's groceries. Many cities have eliminated the bags altogether since they will remain in landfills for many years before disintegrating. In addition, the highways are littered with the bags, which are very unsightly to say the least.
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NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger and The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2014
Environmentalists will team up Saturday to build support for a 5-cent plastic bag fee in Baltimore by handing out reusable bags and taking part in a citywide cleanup effort. Blue Water Baltimore, Waterfront Partnership, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Trash Free Maryland Alliance, Clean Water Action and volunteers will fan out across Baltimore to pick up litter in a show of support for legislation introduced by Councilman James B. Kraft that would impose a fee on most plastic bags distributed in the city.
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NEWS
February 25, 2010
As a Baltimore City resident and environmental law student at the University of Maryland School of Law, I was pleased to see the attention brought to the Baltimore City Council's current efforts to curb waste from discarded plastic bags ("Besieged by Bags," Feb. 22). However, I do not agree with the criticism of the council's efforts without recognition of their ongoing dedication to this critical issue. Given the deliberation of two separate ordinances which would reduce plastic bag pollution (the 25-cent fee and a flat ban)
NEWS
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | May 25, 2014
Like many artists before her, Lisa Su has found inspiration from the intricate patterns and textures found in nature: the red seeds from the inside of a pomegranate, barnacles adhering to a rock. Yet the materials she uses are not beautiful or intricate. They are the stuff we throw away: old newspapers, egg shells, plastic bags, pencil shavings and light bulbs. Su's work, which ranges from the realistic bust of her friend to the abstract paper pulp sculpture that is reminiscent of barnacles, has earned her recognition as one of the top high school visual artists in the nation.
NEWS
January 26, 2014
Call it what you like, the proposal to charge 10-cents for plastic bags is a tax on the people of Baltimore ( "Shoppers in city may see 10-cent bag fee," Jan 21). As for Councilman Brandon Scott's comment, "This is a good step for us to be a sustainable city moving forward," how are we going to accomplish this by charging 10 cents a bag? If you are serious about this, councilman, then flat out ban the bags. Oh, wait a minute, if you do that, the city loses $1.5 million, half of which goes into the mysterious "General Fund.
EXPLORE
January 22, 2012
As an employee at a grocery store in Montgomery County, I am pleased with the implementation of the new bag tax, a law that initially began in Washington. I think that it would be beneficial for Baltimore County, as well as other Maryland counties, to study the idea and consider passing an anti-litter tax. This law would have a positive impact because stores will have to order less bags. Typically, a case of plastic bags costs about $30; paper bags are even more costly. Furthermore, customers will be more mindful about not wasting bags if they have to pay for each one. They will likewise be encouraged to take their reusable bags back to the store to do their shopping.
NEWS
January 27, 2014
Obviously Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the rest of Baltimore's city leaders have solved all of the serious issues facing the city of Baltimore, because tonight the Baltimore City Council is going to be once again taking up the idea of a 10-cent tax on plastic bags in the city of Baltimore. There are of course several very good reasons why this is a very bad idea: Taxes or outright bans of plastic bags don't save cities any money on litter collection. A 2013 study of such bans and taxes by the National Center for Policy Analysis "shows no evidence of a reduction in costs attributable to reduced use of plastic bags" when it comes to litter collection in city budgets.  When compared to other forms of litter, plastic bags constitute a very small portion of our litter problem, a point which has been made both by researchers and by anecdotal evidence here in Baltimore.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Baltimore Sun reporter | March 16, 2010
Food stores and restaurants in Baltimore would be barred from giving away disposable plastic bags under a bill to be considered by City Council, unless the merchants join a program to encourage their customers to recycle or shop with reusable bags. Putting aside earlier proposals to ban disposable plastic bags outright or levy a 25-cent fee on them, the council's Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee approved, 3-0 with two members absent, what members have dubbed a "mandatory-voluntary" approach.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler | March 17, 2010
After years of debating whether to ban disposable plastic store bags or slap a fee on them, the Baltimore City Council appears poised now to try fighting the city's litter problem with half a ban. Under a bill endorsed by a council committee Tuesday, food sellers would be given a choice of offering only paper bags or encouraging their customers to cut back on or recycle the plastic ones. James B. Kraft, chairman of the Judiciary and Legislative Investigations panel, said the measure should overcome objections store owners have to an outright bag ban or fee, which the panel had been considering since 2008.
NEWS
February 17, 2010
Plastic grocery bags can be both good and bad. They are good for when you are on the go and have no reusable bags. Sometimes you unexpectedly have to go to the store for something you need. Plastic bags are also good for when you buy meats, fruits and dairy products. If you used reusable bags for everything you purchased at the grocery store, it would leak or damage your other products. On the other hand, plastic bags are not good for our environment. Plastic bags are one of the biggest trash items adding to the big mess on our streets and waters.
NEWS
May 13, 2014
How's this for a solution to the plastic bag problem that would not penalize poor people ( "Bag the bag tax," May 12)? As a community service, supermarkets could give a 5-cent credit on their bill to anyone who brought and used reusable bags for their purchases, as some stores already do. This would mean that those who were not bothered about a 5-cent fee and continued to use plastic bags would subsidize those who were affected by the cost....
NEWS
May 12, 2014
The bag tax is back, and we must admit it's current incarnation is a lot less objectionable than the earlier attempts. The proposal that's getting shopped around the Baltimore City Council (including at a public hearing to be held Tuesday morning at City Hall) would impose a 5-cent fee on plastic bags handed out by city stores. We still don't think it's the right time to impose yet another tax on city residents - and a particularly regressive one at that since the affluent are more apt to buy and use reusable bags - but we concede it's a much closer call than previous attempts.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | May 9, 2014
A renewed effort is underway in Baltimore to impose a fee on most plastic bags handed out in city stores - and supporters believe that charging a nickel for each bag, rather than a dime, will allow the measure to gain enough backing to become law. But some local retailers have joined environmentalists in saying that the city needs to put the charge on both paper and plastic bags. Environmentalists want to encourage city shoppers to carry reusable bags to preserve resources and reduce litter.
NEWS
By Earl Johnson and Gerrie Okwesa | May 6, 2014
Baltimore is in many respects a charming city, with its row houses, historic neighborhoods and miles of waterfront. But our city also has a not-so-charming problem with trash. And a major contributor is the plastic bags that pollute the landscape. Take a look around and you'll spot blue, white and beige plastic bags clinging to trees, balled up in the alley or caught in hedges. They are an eyesore and annoyance. But they are also a major environmental and quality-of-life issue.
NEWS
February 8, 2014
I was amazed to learn the Baltimore City Council has failed to pass a 10-cent tax on plastic bags provided by grocers and other vendors ( "Bag tax economics," Jan. 22). Baltimore City lags many other large cities in the U.S. in the pursuit of eliminating this wasteful means to carry home one's groceries. Many cities have eliminated the bags altogether since they will remain in landfills for many years before disintegrating. In addition, the highways are littered with the bags, which are very unsightly to say the least.
NEWS
January 27, 2014
A 10-cent tax on plastic bags will harm the poor and small businesses in Baltimore City ("Bag tax economics," Jan. 22). The Baltimore City Council should consider giving households in the city bags to use for shopping instead of punishing people with a tax! Excessive new regulations and the new tax will create more hardships for small businesses. This will force small businesses to close or move to another jurisdiction. M. Link, Baltimore - To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com . Please include your name and contact information.
EXPLORE
January 25, 2012
While the good intentions of a "plastic bag tax" for store shopping bags to prevent pollution is admirable, I do take one issue to Mr. Pasalic's letter (Leader, Jan. 19). Specifically the line "five cents never put anyone into poverty. " One thing is for certain, once you give the government an inch with taxes, they eventually take the mile. Take a look at your phone bill. Many years back the government said, "We're gonna add just a teeny weeny tax on your phone bill. It's just a few cents and it's for the children's education!"
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | March 23, 2013
In a setback for environmentalists, a House committee killed a bill Saturday that would have enabled counties to impose a fee on disposable plastic and paper bags given out by stores to carry merchandise. The Economic Matters Committee voted 14-9 to disapprove the measure, sponsored by Del. Mary Washington, a Baltimore Democrat. The bill had earlier been passed by the Environmental Affairs Committee but required the approval of both panels. The legislation would have placed a 5-cent fee on bags – with exceptions for such items as carry-out food and dry-cleaning – and would have let the stores retain one cent of the fee to compensate for administrative costs.
NEWS
January 27, 2014
Obviously Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the rest of Baltimore's city leaders have solved all of the serious issues facing the city of Baltimore, because tonight the Baltimore City Council is going to be once again taking up the idea of a 10-cent tax on plastic bags in the city of Baltimore. There are of course several very good reasons why this is a very bad idea: Taxes or outright bans of plastic bags don't save cities any money on litter collection. A 2013 study of such bans and taxes by the National Center for Policy Analysis "shows no evidence of a reduction in costs attributable to reduced use of plastic bags" when it comes to litter collection in city budgets.  When compared to other forms of litter, plastic bags constitute a very small portion of our litter problem, a point which has been made both by researchers and by anecdotal evidence here in Baltimore.
NEWS
January 26, 2014
Call it what you like, the proposal to charge 10-cents for plastic bags is a tax on the people of Baltimore ( "Shoppers in city may see 10-cent bag fee," Jan 21). As for Councilman Brandon Scott's comment, "This is a good step for us to be a sustainable city moving forward," how are we going to accomplish this by charging 10 cents a bag? If you are serious about this, councilman, then flat out ban the bags. Oh, wait a minute, if you do that, the city loses $1.5 million, half of which goes into the mysterious "General Fund.
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