Taxing paper bags is counterproductive
Tagging consumers with fees for choosing paper bags amounts to a problem in search of a solution. Now, Carbondale’s environmental board wants to take paper bag fees to a new level by using the money for a consultant to work on plastic waste. On both points, we couldn’t disagree more.
Point one: Paper bags are recyclable, reusable, compostable and made from a renewable resource — trees. The U.S. grows more trees than it harvests; in fact, there are 20 percent more trees in the U.S. now than existed on the first Earth Day in 1970. Consumers should be encouraged to choose paper over plastic rather than being taxed, which disproportionately impacts low-income citizens.
Point two: Using paper bag fees to solve the plastic waste problem? Wrong again. The paper industry has stepped up to achieve a record high 68.1 percent paper recovery for recycling rate in 2018. Consumers should not be taxed for choosing the responsible alternative to plastic in order to generate money to address plastic waste.
It’s time to go back to the drawing board.
American Forest & Paper Association