Richmond Residents React to New Fees for Paper Bags

Jan. 23, 2014 / By

by Chanelle Ignant

Two weeks after its January 1 implementation, Richmond’s Single-Use Bag Ordinance is earning mixed reactions from residents. Chief among the responses are grievances about the 5-cent fee for paper bags.

Kelvin Payne has lived in Richmond for 8 years. He says it’s unfair to charge a customer after they have already spent money paying for items from the store.

“I agree that it has environmental benefits, but the cost seems unnecessary,” he says.

Another resident, Bula Newsome, agrees. “I think it’s ridiculous. We’re buying groceries from their store. We should get our bags for free,” says Newsome. She plans to use a cart to carry her groceries to her car rather than paying the 5-cent fee.

The new ordinance prohibits the distribution of plastic bags in all retail establishments except restaurants, and requires retailers to charge a minimum fee of 5 cents for each paper bag. Retailers face a fine of up to $1,000 for incompliance. The ordinance also states that the fee will increase to 10 cents after two years, in an effort to encourage people to use reusable bags instead.

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