Residents in Durham, NC may see an extra charge on their receipts.  A new tax proposed by the Duke Law Clinic  is aimed at encouraging the use of reusable bags. The 10 cent plastic bag tax would apply at restaurants, grocery stores, retailers, and other places that currently use plastic bags. The Duke Law Clinic will formally present the proposal today at a Durham City Council meeting.

They have been studying the impacts of the bags in the city for around 4 years. Customers would be charged 10 cents for each plastic bag when they are checking out. This is interesting as I know some grocery and big box stores offer a discount, usually around 5 cents if you bring your own bags. This is something I should be better at I have a huge stack of reusable bags I just forget to bring them most times.

The goal is to release plastic waste in the city. They are hopeful that businesses will shift to using paper bags or thicker bags that are reusable. According to an article by local news outlet WRAL, opinions vary on the tax. Some residents oppose the additional cost especially at a time when prices are already skyrocketing on many items. They say that 80% of businesses, a number provided by Duke University, are on board with the fee either favoring or not opposing it. It is estimated that single-use plastic bags cost the city over $86,000 a year.

I personally try to take plastic bags back to the stores and put them in the recycling there. I’m not sure what percentage of people do this but it is a solution. I would not be in favor of the tax as it will add to costs. I would however be fine with encouraging businesses to switch to other forms of bags. However, I can imagine this could indirectly increase costs as well.

Do you think other places in NC could see similar plastic bag tax legislation proposed?