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A Maryland county’s nickel tax for plastic bags is paying off, but not as planned

Like most local governments, Montgomery County is perennially looking for ways to generate revenue. When it imposed a 5-cent levy on disposable shopping bags in 2012, however, officials said the intent was to change behavior, not to squeeze more pennies from taxpayers.

Plastic bags make up about a third of the trash found in the county’s streams and stormwater ponds. Many end up in the heavily polluted Anacostia River. Charging shoppers a nickel for each plastic or paper bag would prod them to embrace environmentally friendly reusable sacks, or so the county hoped.

Four years later, county data that tracks the impact of the bag tax offers conflicting evidence about whether it is having the desired effect.

Read the full article from The Washington Post.

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