Charging for plastic AND paper

Plenty of cities -- and entire countries -- are moving toward charging for plastic bags.

Now, the District of Columbia is considering charging for both.  The proposal, if adopted, would give the District one of the country's toughest bag laws, according to a news story in today's Washington Post. The fee would be five cents per bag.

Post reporter Nikita Stewart writes that, under the proposal, the income would be split between businesses and the city, which would use its share to offer free reusable bags to elderly and low-income residents.

It would also be used to help clean the Anacostia River. A recent study found that plastic bags were "the single largest component of trash" in the eight-mile river and its tributaries.

But businesses didn't want to target plastic solely because of the economics of bag-dom. Plastic costs about two cents a bag; paper, five cents.

Both the paper and the plastics industries are expected to fight the measure.