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Tre's Take: Athens should adopt a tax on plastic bags

After World War II, plastics slowly took over as America’s favorite material became an economic powerhouse. A modern miracle of engineering, you can find plastic in just about every industry. From vehicle manufacturing to product packaging that you see on the shelves of every grocery store, it’s remarkable how much humanity relies on plastic.

With this emergence of plastic and plastic accessories there are a lot of harmful risks to things like human health, the environment and wildlife. 

Plastic has major drawbacks, including the fact that it is nearly impossible to recycle. It’s often burned in incineration plants or left in giant landfills. It takes nearly 400 years to completely degrade into a small enough size to be harmless. Billions of tons of plastic are wasted and thrown away every year and only a small amount out of that is properly recycled or burned. Burning plastics leads to the creation of large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions which are then spewed into the atmosphere. 

In order to address this rising issue, cities across America have implemented several pieces of legislation such as bans on plastics or taxes on plastics. Targeting major retailers and grocery stores, cities have tried to intervene in the sale of plastic bags. Offering alternatives or taxes on the bags themselves, more and more local city governments are taking part.

A city that is completely absent from the list of cities taking action is Athens. The city of Athens has only passed a resolution encouraging residences and retailers to limit their use of single-use plastics after a proposed tax on bags. This is not enough because encouragement can only go so far in terms of actual legislation that would make requirements for businesses and retailers. However, Ohio University has taken steps, albeit small, but helpful measures in order to head in the greener direction. 

Consider how much you would pay to buy a plastic bag versus bringing your own at a grocery store. 

Taxing plastic bags would be more effective than that of a plastic ban because it would generate revenue which could then go toward numerous social programs. It would also encourage people to reuse the bags that they already own thus reducing how much plastic is littered every year. 

Athens should strongly consider this adoption in order to help our planet and keep our home clean. We should all go green and reduce our carbon footprint with our use of plastics and plastic bags. 

Tre Spencer is a freshman studying photojournalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Tre know by tweeting him @trerspencer1. 

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