The Montgomery County Council Tuesday approved a 5-cent tax on each paper and plastic carryout bag bought at retail locations in the suburb, mirroring a similar law in the District implemented to remove trash from area waters.
With an 8-1 vote, the council approved the tax, saying that consumers will use fewer disposable bags to avoid the charge.
"It is a prudent approach," said Councilman Roger Berliner, D-Bethesda/Potomac. "Ladies and gentleman, I assure you this works [in removing bags from waterways]."
At least one critic, however, said the tax was unnecessary.
"I’m all for protecting water quality and the environment, but this tax is over the top and solves no problems," said Councilwoman Nancy Floreen, D-at large. "It’s another regressive tax."
The county estimates the tax would generate roughly $1.5 million next year, which would be directed to water and litter cleanup.
Unlike the District, the bill would apply to virtually all stores — not just those that sell food.