Paper or plastic? Dems propose five-cent tax on both

"According to the Environment Protection Agency, the average American throws away about 4.4 pounds of trash each day," Moran said. "The results of this waste can be found in our oceans, now home to floating landfills ten times the size of Virginia.

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"Small steps like replacing plastic bags with reusable ones yields large returns in reducing the amount of trash we create."

The bill mirrors a tax that the District of Columbia imposed on disposable bags back in 2009. Moran credits that tax with a reduction in the average monthly use of plastic bags from 22.5 million to just 3 million.

Moran's statement said that according to a U.S. International Trade Commission report, 102 billion plastic bags were used in the United States. He said toxic additives in the bags can be released into the environment and can disrupt the hormones of fish and other living things.

Moran proposed his bill in conjunction with Earth Day, which was Monday.

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