City Council passes 5-cent tax on plastic bags from January

CHARLOTTESVILLE (WINA) – With a warning to put reusable bags in the hands of low-income, homeless and underhoused city residents, the city council unanimously passed a 5-cent tax on plastic bags. The vote was 4-0 with JuanDiego Wade out. Westhaven resident Rosia Parker alerted the Council that people like her receive benefits, not cash, and may struggle to come up with money to pay plastic bag levies to traders.

Councilor Michael Payne asked staff to ensure this issue is addressed before the tax is implemented on January 1. He pointed to the resounding success of a similar ordinance in San Jose, California, saying pollution from plastic bags in storm drains had been reduced by 89%. 60% in streams and rivers, and the use of reusable bags has more than doubled. Kirk Bowers of the Piedmont Group Sierra Club pointed out “it is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish if we don’t stop using plastic bags“.

He said there is already a lot of plastic in the environment that we humans are already ingesting.

All speakers, however, had to follow the Green Grannies… four elderly people dressed in green “Green Grannies of Charlottesville” t-shirts and hats, who serenaded the Council with their own version of “A Tisket, A Tasket” which began:

“One ticket, one task,
Bring your bag or basket.

And ends:

“No plastic, no plastic,
Stop using plastic
In supermarkets, stores and homes.
All creatures say “fantastic”.

Charlottesville joins Albemarle in implementing the January 1 plastic bag tax.

Bryce K. Locke