Plastic Bag Tax: Should We Have Taxes on Plastic Shopping Bags? by Mike Prochaska

2 years ago
Plastic Bag Tax: Should We Have Taxes on Plastic Shopping Bags?

Do you think a plastic bag tax would encourage people to stop using them?

Plastic shopping bags are one of the most common types of litter. Build ups of huge quantities of plastic bags kill fish and other animals who eat them. Plastic bags disrupt the earth in a serious way. They get into the soil and slowly release toxic chemicals. They eventually break down into the soil with the unfortunate result being that animals eat them and often choke and die.

So, how do you feel about the bag tax? Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants a statewide tax on plastic bags. His proposed state budget includes an estimated $19 to $23 million in new revenue from a tax on plastic bags. Illinois would be the only state in the U.S. to levy a plastic bag tax.

Should Illinois be taxing plastic bags? I personally think a plastic bag tax isn’t a bad idea. I think it would make more people bring their reusable shopping bags to the store and help save the environment. For example, at Aldi you bring your own bags and boxes to take your food home in. In Illinois, Target gives you 5 cents off for every bag you bring in.

What do you think? Is it just government reaching into taxpayer’s pockets again, or do you think it’s a good idea to help the environment? Share your thoughts below!

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Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
I think anything that will help cut down on plastic bags (and water bottles and straws, etc.) is a good idea. Hitting people in their pocketbooks does seem to help. It makes you think twice about it. I try to bring my own canvas bags to the grocery store. If I forget or run in unexpectedly, etc., I ask for paper bags. I'm in Europe right now and they charge for plastic bags. So maybe we should, too (or just get rid of most of them?). Thanks for another great debate, Mike Prochaska ! Jan Mostrom - I know this is a passionate subject for you, too!
Donna John
I would be for a plastic bag tax. All three of my kids feel strongly about reducing/eliminating plastic waste, so I try hard to be conscious of it. But, like today, my problem is that I always forget to grab the reusable bags that my son gave to me. Going to try harder to remember. One thing that does bother me is how many bags grocery stores use on an order. I combine bags as I load them into the car, and usually it's cut in half. A bunch of bananas does not need its own bag. And why put a 3-pound BAG of potatoes into a BAG? Maybe we should start writing letters or voicing our concerns to the grocery stores who use plastic bags. Look forward to reading everyone's opinions here. Mike Prochaska Ashlee Smith Katie Smith
Gwen Johnson
Plastic should be banned. Period.
Michael Kennedy
They have been charging people out here (SF Bay Area) for a couple years for both paper and plastic trying to encourage people to re-use. It's a very small step in the right direction as it tends to get people thinking about the larger problem as well. Our dear friend works with the EPA and reducing ocean plastic / eliminating plastics altogether are his passions. The statistics he presents to us are both staggering and scary. So in short yes. 100% :)
Sheri B Doyle
I agree with Gwen Johnson plastic should be banned. There should be no reason we offer plastic bags to people. If bags need to be made available they should be biodegradable and expensive so people are encouraged to remember their own bags. Our actions need to be swift and extreme to change behavior.
Mike Prochaska
Does it bother you that they are taxing them instead of banning them?
Michael Morand
I actually favor these kinds of taxes over income taxes. People can choose whether or not to support the tax. I highly doubt that Pritzker will earn what he thinks the tax will earn, because these taxes never earn what people think they will. But how is this type of tax any different than an income tax? An income tax incentivizes people to not earn money, just like a bag tax incentivizes people to use less bags.
It probably makes sense, but I have to admit that every plastic bag brought into my house is re-used multiple times as lunch bags, for carrying shoes or other items I need to carry around, to pack items when I travel, as trash can liners, and then finally to dispose of animal waste. The first time I heard the phrase "single use bag," I had to ask what a single use bag was. If more people would re-use these bags, I wonder if we would have the same problem?
Stephanie Mallory
I'm a total bag re-user! And I even wash out lunch baggies and freezer bags to re-use again and again.
Stephanie Mallory
When we travel to Europe, the stores there charge a few cents for plastic or paper if you don't have your own. I personally like that model!
Tiffany Zook
Anything to reduce plastic waste. I think combining the ideas would work... charge for bags, and add a tax. The double wammy!

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