Shoppers react to Washtenaw Co. 10 cent bag tax

Posted at 5:31 PM, Jun 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-02 17:31:31-04

Betsy Andreu says bringing her own shopping bags to the store is a no-brainer. "I've been doing this since 1997," she said.

Soon, every shopper in Washtenaw County will have to do the same, or pay 10 cents for every grocery bag - paper or plastic - they carry out of the store.

"I totally approve of that. It's a great idea," Gabriella Cerrato said. "Originally I'm from Italy and there it's normal you bring your own bag and if you don't you pay 5 or 10 cents," she added.

Washtenaw County Commissioners approved the measure 6-2 Wednesday night, saying it will help eliminate waste and encourage people to be more environmentally conscious.

But the tax is harder for some to swallow.

Leslie Shannon, who already brings her own bags to the grocery store, said, "I would prefer not to have that be forced on me."

"I like always, you know, a choice," Suzanne Brukwinski said.

Grocers would get 20 percent of the tax revenue and the rest will go to the county's solid waste management plan.
Shoppers say it might take a while for everyone to make bringing their own bags a habit, but many say, the days of guilt-free bagging are long gone.

"I think some people will think it's invading their rights, but I think it's a good step," Sandy Huber said.

The new bag ordinance isn't expected to be implemented until April 2017.

Commissioners added the ordinance could be nullified if similar state legislation passes. A pending bill that recently passed the state Senate would prohibit communities from imposing such a fee.