Not Meant for Groceries
I was surprised to learn that Councilmember Nancy Floreen handed out reuseable bags during her last reelection campaign. She expressed concerns about sanitation and hygiene related to bag reuse in a Washington Post op-ed written before she became the sole at-large councilmember to oppose the new Montgomery County bag tax:
And speaking of environments: The one inside a reusable bag is perfect for growing bacteria and cross-contaminating food, so if you opt against paying for disposable bags, you had better remember to wash your reusable ones. Do you really want to carry home unwashed chicken or seafood in a bag you might be carrying apples in later?From the color and design, one might get the impression that using bags is an environmental rather than hazmat situation, though I know green is also Nancy's campaign color. Roger Berliner and the other eight members of the County Council seemed willing to risk public health as they disagreed with Nancy's view:
“I consider this to be a nudge, not a nuisance. This nudge has profound effects on our consciousness,” said council member Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac), who cast one of the eight votes for the measure.Del. Al Carr is sponsoring a similar measure at the state level.
Reducing the number of plastic bags that end up clogging waterways is the principal aim of the new tax. By taxing paper bags as well, officials are trying to keep shoppers from simply choosing paper instead.
Update: Apologies for problems with the image.