There is No Free Bag

So-called free bags are not really free.  Even though you don’t see a separate fee for bags in most places, you are still paying for them in lots of ways.

Retailers pay 2 to 5 cents per bag. This adds up–day after day, year after year.  Estimates by the Anacostia Watershed Society figures the average Marylander takes 750 bags a year, at an estimated cost of $15 to $37.50 a year. This cost is passed on to consumers through higher prices on other items, like pasta, produce, and dairy products, making it a “hidden” cost.

Bag fees, such as the one in force in Washington DC, are pro-consumer because they expose the hidden cost of bags and allow the customer to avoid it. Unlike a tax, the bag fee can be avoided.  As Trash Free Maryland notes: “if you don’t want to pay the bag fee, you never have to!”  We agree!

See and the Baltimore B’More Green blog (

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