Baltimore's plastic bag ban proposal would also tax paper bags.
Baltimore's plastic bag ban proposal would also tax paper bags. (Gino Santa Maria / R. Gino Santa Maria - stock.adob)

We appreciate that Baltimore seeks alternatives to address plastic pollution, as detailed in the August 22 op-ed “Baltimore bag ban would help kick plastic problem.” But, paper bags are not part of the plastic pollution problem, and taxing them should not be part of the equation in Baltimore or any other U.S. community for that matter.

As the City Council mulls its options, we hope they hear the reasons why paper bag use should be encouraged and not punished by taxation. Taxing paper bags at any level is regressive, burdens hard-working citizens, increases the cost of basic necessities and disproportionately impacts lower-income citizens.


Paper bags are a sustainable, environmentally-friendly option for consumers, made from a renewable resource — trees, which capture and store carbon from the atmosphere. Moreover, 68.1% of paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling in 2018, a success story that deserves to grow unimpeded by the negative implications of a paper bag tax.

Let’s not create another problem, Baltimore. A five-cent fee on paper bags is not the way to go. Sincerely,

Jordan Craig , Washington

The writer is manager of government and industry affairs for the American Forest & Paper Association.

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