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The Bag Tax

By Linda Tancs

As environmental concerns drive consumers and businesses to forego the ubiquitous plastic shopping bag, international shoppers should be aware of certain disincentives–like bag surcharges–for the use of store-supplied plastic bags at the local grocery store.  Ireland, for instance, charges 15 cents per bag, which apparently has folks lugging their own to the market.  However, this practice is hardly new.  There was a time, 20 or so years ago, when markets in the U.K. countryside routinely charged for in-house bagging and rare was the sight of a shopper without a bag or two–or even a cart–to take away their goods.  Maybe it was the entrance of “express shopping” or mini-marts in the cities that caused the practice to abandon in favor of easy convenience for the time-challenged shopper.  Whatever the reason, let’s cheer the return of those bygone days, even if we need a little tax to get there.

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