Howard County bag fee to go into effect Thursday

If you’re shopping in Howard County, Maryland, you’ll have to pay 5 cents for each disposable plastic bag you get at checkout starting Thursday.

The bag fee goes in effect Oct. 1. However, if you use your own bag, you will not be charged the fee. But you may have to bag your own purchases, as some stores in the area will not bag your groceries in reusable bags due to COVID-19 sanitation measures.

Some of the money from the new bag fee goes to stores, and some will go to a Howard County disposable plastics reduction fund that provides reusable bags to “vulnerable individuals,” reduces litter and improves overall environmental quality.

Howard County joins Montgomery County in charging a fee for single-use bags.

Last March, a bill banning plastic bags in Maryland was before the General Assembly, where it passed the House but did not make it in time for a Senate vote.

Since the coronavirus public health emergency hit, jurisdictions across the U.S., including some in Maryland, are considering suspending the bag fee.

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