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Moran Introduces Trash Reduction Act on Earth Day

Press Release

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Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, today announced introduction of the "Trash Reduction Act of 2013," to impose a five-cent fee on "single use" plastic and paper bags at grocery and retail stores. The fee would reduce littering and encourage use of reusable bags. Revenue from the tax would support the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

"According to the Environment Protection Agency, the average American throws away about 4.4 pounds of trash each day. The results of this waste can be found in our oceans, now home to floating landfills ten times the size of Virginia," said Rep. Moran. "Small steps like replacing plastic bags with reusable ones yields large returns in reducing the amount of trash we create."

The "Trash Reduction Act of 2013" is modeled after the successful bag tax policy implemented in Washington, D.C. in 2009. The number of plastic bags dropped from the 2009 monthly average of 22.5 million to just 3 million per month by the end of 2010.

The U.S. International Trade Commission reported in 2009 that 102 billion plastic bags were used in the United States. As plastic items break down, any toxic additives they contain -- including flame retardants, antimicrobials, and plasticizers -- may be released into the environment. Many of these chemicals may disrupt the endocrine system -- the delicately balanced set of hormones and glands that affect virtually every organ and cell. In marine environments, excess estrogen has led to discoveries of male fish and seagulls with female sex organs.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Program provides matching grants to States and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities as well as funding for shared federal land acquisition and conservation strategies.

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