Disposable Bag Fee Awareness Campaign Launches

As reported by DCist yesterday, the city has finally launched an awareness campaign about the impending disposable bag fee.

Beginning January 1, 2010, District businesses that sell food or alcohol will be required by law to charge you 5 cents for each disposable paper or plastic carryout bag. The Skip the Bag, Save the River campaign from DDOE will give 3 or 4 cents to the new Anacostia River Protection Fund.

According to Alan Heymann, Director of Public Information at DDOE, The Office of Tax and Revenue estimates that the bag fee will generate $3.6 million for the new Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund in the first year.

DDOE will use the money to physically remove trash from the Anacostia and conduct stream restoration activities.

“We will also start a public awareness campaign about litter prevention, beginning in the schools,” says Heymann. “Finally, we will use the funds to continue handing out reusable shopping bags to residents – especially seniors and in low-income communities.”

DDOE is partnering with CVS and Safeway to hand out 122,000 reusable bags in the next few months. “These will be available at public events and distribution points throughout the District, so please watch our public calendar at for more information when it becomes available,” he adds.

The bag fee is the first of its kind in the nation, and will not apply to bags used for newspapers, produce, hardware, frozen foods, plants, bakery items or prescription drugs. Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward Six) introduced the bag legislation, which the DC Council passed unanimously in June.

DDOE has generously offered 10 free reusable bags to readers of GoingGreenDC.net. Simply send an email to sachacohen@comcast.net with your name, phone number, and address. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by December 1, 2009.

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