Plastic Bag Tax
Plastic bag tax: To reuse bags or to refuse tax? Statistics reveals that 800,000 tons of plastic bags are used yearly in the European Union. In 2010, the average citizen used 191 of them but only 6% were recycled; yet, more than 4 billion bags are thrown away each year (Summers, 2012). However, some countries have banned using plastic bags completely; others, such as China and South Africa, banned only ultra-thin plastic bags, while in number of countries, a tax has been imposed. Plastic bags are commonly dumped everywhere; they could be found on parks, over trees, on beaches.
They require great efforts to be collected and controlled, and that is one reason behind the ban ordinance in many places. In Ireland’s case, a tax of 15-euro cent on using plastic bags has been enacted in 2002. This successfully contributed to decrease the use of this kind of bags by 95%, and therefore, led to less litter in the surroundings and saved the energy used to recycle (Summers, 2012). According to the WordWatch Institute, in Washington D. C. , a five-cent tax per plastic bag brought the percentage of residents’ monthly use of plastic bags down from 22. 5 million, before the levy was introduced in 2010, to 3 million today.
Plastic Bag Tax Essay Example
This small amount of tax would have a significant result in saving the environment if it is considered by the governments as an option to reduce pollution. The Oregon Legislative Assembly should enact a five-cent tax on plastic bags for many reasons. First, these bags have a negative impact on the environment; secondly, by enacting this levy the plastic-bag industry would be enticed to produce new products that don’t harm living things; and finally, this levy would increase the environmental awareness among the people and encourage them to rethink about their daily habits.
The impact of plastic bags on the environment is very damaging. As already mentioned, plastic bags are discarded everywhere not only in landfills, which make it very difficult to control the damage. Even when people are environmentally aware enough in dumping their bags, plastic bags can be easily carried by wind to places that can hardly be reached, therefore, it is difficult to dispose them. Furthermore, hundred of plastic bags eventually end up in oceans and rivers and kill off the marine life. Actually plastic bags are non-biodegradable and last for years.
Instead, these products are broken down to smaller pieces by some environmental factors and then carried away by winds and water, and therefore spread everywhere, hence, cause more damage and expand the problem. According to Samantha Fanshawe, the UK Marine Conservation Society’s director of conservation, scientists have found plastic bags in numbers of dead turtles’ and whales’ stomachs (Williams, 2004). Many species in water are vulnerable to swallow floating plastic bags, even the most intelligent ones.
These animals swim with their mouths open, which make them always at risk to suck up this plastic plankton. The tax or ban on plastic bags might force the plastic bags manufacturers to innovate a new product that more friendly to environment. If plastic bags are banned, there will be definitely an economic impact on the production. Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston has reported that as the Oregonians pay a tax on plastic bags, the plastic industry will undergo a decline in sales; therefore, it will lead to a decline in employment (Wynn, 2011).
On one hand, the use of plastic bags would decrease when a tax on consumers is applied; accordingly, the plastic bags production would decline; so, if the manufacturers want to revive their business, they should take an action. One solution might be coming up with a new product that satisfies the shoppers and the policy makers while at the same time doesn’t harm the environment. On the other hand, manufacturers would carefully consider more natural resources if they want to keep their business prosperous, avoiding any potential ordinance in favor of environmental protection.
Another important reason why a tax should be imposed on plastic bags is that it will positively increase the Oregonians’ environmental awareness to some extent. Edward Russo (2013), a writer for The Register-Guard, writes that some stores in Eugene have already discontinued offering plastic bags for the shoppers; as a result, the customers have started to reuse the bags or use alternative made out of fabric or paper. Generally, people will cooperate with official ordinances and regulation; they may also do some research to find out why such ordinance has been enacted.
Consumers may have never concerned about the environment but imposing a tax on plastic bags could be an alarm for them and in this way they figure out the huge destruction of these products. Likewise, the consumers may also reconsider new habits in their life and get rid of other bad ones; they may rethink more about their behaviors and how harm it has effected the surroundings. Residents will carry along their bags with them when go shopping, and they will tend to use alternative bags such the ones that made out of paper or cloth.
Garbage bags also can be used more than once in order to reduce the waste. Some opponents of a plastic bag tax argue that the tax on plastic bags will be financially a burden on them. The Coalition to Stop the Seattle Bag Tax, which was formed after a tax on Styrofoam container was imposed by the city council in 2009, has claimed that “a 20-cent tax per bag would cost consumers $300 each year”(O’Carroll, 2008). Though, the WorldWatch Institute states that the average weekly use of plastic bags is less than this number (O’Carroll, 2008).
However, in many cases, the government uses this tax to clean up the polluted places in the region. For example, the Washington D. C. government used the tax to clean up the Anacostia River that is severely polluted by trash (Worldwatch, n. d). Subsequently, when people pay off this modest tax, they indeed participate in preserving the environment and supporting projects, which have been published to curb the pollution that basically caused by people; therefore, they contribute to the public good. An Oregonian plastic bag tax is a good way to limit the environment pollution.
It will not only help to decrease the amount of plastic bags disposed, but will increase the residents’ awareness as well as the governments’ income. We should never let single-use plastic bags to pollute the planet for ages. A serious step toward banning plastic bags in Oregon should be taken. Actually, governments and consumers should work hand in hand to stop pollution and save energy; to save the human being and marine animals; to protect the air and water; it is the least people can do considering this mess they have produced. References O’carrol, E. (2015, September 15).
Industry group fighting Seattle plastic-bag tax: American Chemistry Council spent $180,625 in August fighting a 20-cent fee on paper and plastic shopping bags. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from http://www. csmonitor. com/Environment/BrightGreen/2008/0915/industry-group-fghting-seattle-plastic-bag-tax Summers, C. (2012, March 18). What should be done about plastic bags. BBC News Magazine. Retrieved from http://www. bbc. co. uk/news/magazine-17027990 Russo, E. (2013, February 27). Time to bag it: Within weeks Eugene shoppers must give up their plastic