America’s Plastic Problem
By: Ellie Ford
Amy Pang, a lobbyist from Neuqua Valley, intends to begin charging for plastics with bill SC-O-02. This bill would add a $0.08 tax to every plastic bag used at a checkout.
The taxes and fines would be sent to The Ecosystem Protection Fund and The Department of Conservation will enforce it. Pang feels that $0.08 will be a sufficient incentive to build a more sustainable economy. “The average american family uses approximately 15 plastic bags per trip to the grocery store, so they would be taxed $1.20 for the amount with the implementation of this tax. Additionally, a clause in the bill would allow those under the poverty line to be exempt from the tax.
The penalties for non-compliance are steep. A municipality would be fined $150,000 for non-compliance. This presents a problem for some, though. Individual establishments are responsible for enforcing this bill, but municipalities will be responsible for their nonconformity. The author says, “The bill would only be in effect in the state of Illinois. Many stores are part of a national chain, so it would be unfair to ask them to enforce such taxation on their stores in only a few states.”
Pang says she feels opposition she encounters will be caused by prioritization of things other than the environment. She explained, “Some people may prioritize other things, like convenience, over the environment, but I just don’t think it’s right.”
The bill is being reviewed by a special committee this weekend.