Leggett Launches Bag Law Outreach Campaign
Beginning Jan. 1, county shoppers will be charged five cents for each plastic or paper carryout bag.
County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) kicked off a public education campaign in Bethesda Wednesday ahead of a new bag law that will go into effect next year.
Beginning Jan. 1, shoppers will be charged five cents for every paper or plastic carryout bag they take home with their purchase. At a Wednesday press conference at the Westfield Montgomery Mall, Leggett encouraged shoppers to bring their own re-usable bags on shopping trips to save money and benefit the environment.
“We are here today to start spreading the word that there is an easy alternative to paying five cents a bag when shopping. Just bring your own bags,” Leggett said, according to a county press release.
Plastic bags are among the top four items found in county streams and stormwater controls, according the release. The bag law is expected to rake in about $1.5 million a year – money that will be earmarked for the Water Quality Protection Fund, which funds stormwater management, litter pick-up and watershed restoration, according to the release.
“Really what we’re trying to do is reduce one of the biggest sources of litter in county waterways and streams, and on roads and walkways,” Esther Bowring, a county spokeswoman, told Patch.
Leggett was joined at the press conference by County Councilman Roger Berliner (D – Dist. 1) and Bob Hoyt, director of the county's Department of Environmental Protection.
Several businesses, environmental groups and community organizations are partnering with the county in the carryout bag law education campaign, Leggett announced Wednesday.
Retailers including Safeway, WSSC and WalMart are donating re-usable bags for the county to distribute, Bowring said. The county will also be distributing 70,000 re-usable cloth bags to low-income residents. Some of those bags will be donated by retail partners.
While many shoppers are already in the habit of bringing bags to the grocery store, Bowring said, they should also remember to bring their own bags to places like the mall or the drug store.
“People get it – a lot of people are already doing this,” Bowring said. “One thing that’s going to be a transition for residents is, I think a lot of people are used to bringing their bags when they go grocery shopping – now they have to remember to bring their bags when they do other types of shopping too.”
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