Beginning January 1, 2010 the “bag bill” approved by DC Council and signed into law by Mayor Fenty signed into law earlier this year will go into effect. District businesses will charge customers five cents for every disposable paper or plastic carryout bag with the proceeds going to the Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Fund. The bag fee will not apply to bags used for newspapers, produce, hardware, frozen foods, plants, bakery items or prescription drugs.
A portion of the revenue raised from the bill will go towards education and providing reusable bags to low-income residents. A Skip the Bag, Save the River campaign is distributing 250,000 free reusable bags this month at locations around the district.
I anticipate some customers will arrive at the check out register in January unaware of this change. Hopefully those who are surprised by the surcharge don’t shoot the messenger. The cashiers didn’t pass the bill or design the awareness program. Nonetheless as a former bagger during my mid-teens I expect short term pain during the transition and for cashiers to take the brunt of it.