Paper or Plastic? Virginia lawmaker pushes grocery bag tax

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) –  Virginia Delegate Joe Morrissey (D-Henrico) will introduce a bill during the 2012 General Assembly that will place a 20-cent charge on plastic bags you use at the grocery store. [CLICK HERE: Go to Facebook and tell us what you think about a plastic bag tax]

He said 26 states have adopted different forms of plastic bag reduction so far. He said Virginia should join the group because the impact it will have on the environment.

“What we’re trying to do is change people’s habits, get them to use re-usable, and not using plastics,” he said.

Morrissey said the percentage of recycled bags used in Virginia is less than 1/10th of one percent.

“Where do the rest of those plastics go? Landfills, rivers, crop land,” he said.

Some shoppers who spoke to CBS 6 News do not agree with Del. Morrissey’s bill.
“I think of all the things and opportunities that lawmakers can spend their time on, that seems pretty frivolous,” said Darnyl Allen.

“I say it should be a choice, and I’m all for choices,” said shopper Marlene Baldaino, who prefers plastic.

“These bags offer opportunities to make it convenient to shop for men, women, moms and dads. I don’t think we need to introduce another tax,” said Virginia Delegate Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax).

Del. Morrissey has introduced similar bills in the past that have failed to become law. But this time, Morrissey said he hoped he could get enough votes to change the ways Virginians shop for groceries.

“It’s good policy and it’s good government,” he said.

Morrissey said two years ago Washington, DC imposed a plastic bag tax that has reduced plastic bag consumption in the District by almost 75%.

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