ROANOKE, Va (WFXR) — Roanoke City implemented a plastic bag tax early this year, with the intent to encourage the community to minimize the use of plastic bags in order to decrease litter and keep plastic out of waterways.
According to the Sustainability and Outreach Coordinator for the City of Roanoke, the tax has brought in over $66,000 since January. City leaders have said the purpose of the tax is not to make money, but to change behavior. Some members of the community say they are seeing signs of the tax working.
“I’ve actually seen a lot more reusable bags, you really will, you go to the farmers market and see a lot of reusable bags, you go to a regular conventional grocery store and I see a lot of reusable bags now,” said Director of Marketing at Roanoke Co-op John Bryant.
Bryant says the Roanoke Co-op stopped using plastic bags all together in 2019. He says while he is glad it can be more environmentally friendly, there are also some greater costs involved.
“Plastic bags are pennies, and paper bags, ours are probably around 20 cents, and in groceries the margins are real tight,” said Bryant.
Despite this, some members of the community, like Fredia and Carroll Carter, are going above and beyond to do their part in eliminating the waste of plastic bags.
“We don’t even take plastic bags when we forget them, you know we just take the basket out and put everything in the car because the plastic is dangerous for all of us,” said Fredia Carter.
The exact numbers on how effectively the tax has reduced the use of plastic bags is unavailable at this time, however some Roanoke residents say it is an important step in creating a better tomorrow.
“We want to leave our world better for them then we have in the present time,” said Carroll Carter.