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First Day Of Bag Fee In Montgomery County

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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — The New Year marks the first day of a new bag tax for Montgomery County residents. Shoppers will now be charged a five-cent fee for paper and plastic bags at any cashier.

Tim Williams reports officials say the tax is needed and has more on how county residents are reacting.

Until now, you may not have given much thought to the number of bags used at the checkout line in a store, but for Montgomery County residents like the Bourne family, that has just changed.

“Did not bring my bags and I figured the punishment of having to load into the car all of the groceries and unload into the house all the groceries will remind me to bring my bags next time,” said Carla Bourne.

A bill proposed by Montgomery County Delegate Al Carr passed. A nickel is now charged for each paper or plastic bag customers take from a Montgomery County store, a measure lawmakers hope will cut down pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

“A lot of people find ways to reuse the bags but the fact is that a very, very large number of them still end up as litter,” Carr said.

The Environmental Protection Agency agrees.

“In Montgomery County, we spend about $3 million a year on litter prevention and cleanup programs so what this is trying to do is shift those costs,” said Montgomery County Environmental Protection Agency Director Bob Hoyt.

While shoppers in Montgomery County all seem to know this bag tax has gone into effect, they disagree on whether lawmakers are trying to go green or make green.

“I just think it’s another way of collecting revenue from us,” said Joe Natale.

“If it encourages me to go more green, I’m all for it,” Bourne said.

“This is not a revenue-generating device for us. It’s meant to protect the environment,” Hoyt said.

For information on the bag tax, click here.

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