Fee on single-use plastic bags: 'Another dead-end government-sponsored program'

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When I hear of the Town Of Warwick proposing to impose a “fee” on single-use plastic bags I think “here we go again”. Imposing yet another tax (yes, that is what it is) without having any proactive program behind it.

Of course, ShopRite and Price Chopper are in complete agreement with the program. They stand to profit quite well off of this. Let's do the math. Warwick supposedly consumes 11 million bags a year, according to the article I read.

Since these two stores are by far the largest retailers and consumers of these bags, let’s say they account for at least half of the bags being used in Warwick. That would be 5.5 million bags a year being distributed by these two stores alone.

I went online and just found a supplier of these bags with logo printing included and I could buy them in a small lot from Uline of 1,000 for 3.7 cents a piece.

I’m quite sure that in huge orders, these stores aren’t paying anywhere near that but lets just use that number. So, if we have the stores charge consumers 5 cents per bag, they are making a profit of at least 1.3 cents per bag. Then 1.3 cents time 5,500,000 equals a profit of $715,000 per year.

I am in complete agreement with making programs to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of these stupid bags. However, having a dead-end program that leads nowhere except creating a huge profit maker for retailers is just that, a dead end.

Okay, so what to do. If Warwick uses 11 million bags a year and the retailers dispensing those bags are making approximately 1.3 cents per bag on a “fee” they are charging consumers then that fee should go somewhere.

How about the fee goes into a fund that is used exclusively for providing reusable shopping bags at no cost to the consumers.

Everyone gets an allotment so no one can hoard shopping bags. Any more than say 10 bags you have to pay for.

We do that for two or three years and then the stores stop providing single-use bags at all. They will have a polite sign on the door that informs patrons that they will have to purchase a reusable bag if they wish to carry out their items in a bag.

It doesn’t require you to buy a bag either. You can carry them in your arm or find a box or use the tails of your shirt (like when I pick tomatoes).

Please don’t implement yet another dead-end government-sponsored program that will never go anywhere and never accomplish its goal. People will just get used to paying the fee and the stores will profit and the bags will be used indefinitely.

Bob Linguanti


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