Arlington Green Party urges ban on plastic bags, styrofoam

Plastic Bags Blow!

Image by katerha via Flickr

The Arlington Green Party calls on Arlington County Board to adopt ordinances banning plastic bags in supermarkets and chain drugs stores and eliminate Styrofoam from food service outlets. The need has never been greater, since the EPA has called for a massive reduction in the waste that flows into the Chesapeake Bay watershed, much of it consisting of plastic bags and Styrofoam debris. Arlington County has the authority to enact the bans, because Section 10.1-1411 of Virginia Code authorizes municipalities to draw up plans to reduce waste, subject only to regulations from the Virginia Waste Management Board.

County Board says it wants a tax on plastic bags like the one adopted by the District of Columbia in 2010 that reduced bag use by 80 percent. However, the Virginia General Assembly took that option off the table by recently defeating in committee two bills to tax plastic bags. As a result the county has no alternative other than a ban to reduce waste dumped into landfills and the Potomac River watershed.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted ordinances banning plastic bags and Styrofoam in 2007. The result, according to a 2008 NPR report, was the elimination of 5 million bags per month.  The Arlington Green Party doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel. We ask that Arlington County Board adopt the language of the San Francisco ordinances. The bans San Francisco enacted have stood the test of time and worked to reduce waste in that great city. They can work here also.

“I’ve decided to run for County Board to stop the green washing and start the greening of Arlington County,” said Audrey Clement, member of the Arlington Green Party.  “If elected I plan to put adoption of these ordinances at the top of my agenda, along with improving the county’s recycling rate and funding basic needs rather than white elephant projects. I’m going to deliver copies of the proposed ordinances to the County Clerk’s office this morning. Additional copies are available from the Arlington Green Party.”

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