A handful of House Democrats are supporting legislation that would impose a 10-cent tax on plastic shopping bags, which they say would create an incentive for people not to use the bags that are clogging landfills around the country.
Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., proposed the legislation in an effort to build off the way that some areas of the country charge consumers for using plastic bags in order to reduce waste. California and Washington, D.C., already charge people to use plastic bag.
"I'm proud of the fact that cities in my District and throughout California have led the way on dealing with plastic bag pollution, but it is time for us to take action at a national level," Lowenthal said. "Plastic pollution is one of the most visible environmental impacts of our consumer age. All Americans can reap the same benefits that California has: less plastic pollution and a higher quality of life."
Under his bill, consumers would pay a minimum of 10 cents per plastic bag at supermarkets and other retailers. Retailers would be able to keep 4 cents per bag if they have a recycling program that qualifies under the bill.
Funds raised by the bill would go to the Land and Water Conservation Fund to support environmental projects.
"Americans for the most part all agree that a clean environment is better for us as individuals and better not just for our children, but for all future generations," Lowenthal said. "Being sustainable today is an investment in a cleaner and healthier tomorrow."
Other Democratic co-sponsors of the bill are Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, and California Reps. Sam Farr, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee and Ted Lieu.