Trash pollution is a growing problem in the Potomac watershed.

Trash in the Potomac River and its tributaries comes from a variety of sources including littering and illegal dumping. Rain also washes litter directly into the water or into storm drains. Eventually, the trash flows into the Chesapeake Bay and ultimately, the Atlantic Ocean. It is important that we prevent pollution from entering our rivers because most trash that ends up in the ocean originates from rivers.

LEGISLATION

WASHINGTON DC
DC Bag Fee:
Since 2010, all businesses in the District that sell food or alcohol must charge 5 cents for every paper or
plastic bag. You can avoid the fee and reduce the amount of plastic you use by bringing your own bag. Revenue
from the bag fee funds the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund. The funds are used to install trash
traps in the Anacostia and its tributaries. Over the past 10 years, 70,000 lbs of trash have been removed and
more than 29,000 linear feet of streams have been restored.

DC Plastic Straw Ban:
Effective January 1, 2019, any business or organization that serves food cannot provide single-use
plastic straws or stirrers to their customers. DC is part of the Our Last Straw coalition. In April 2018, The Alice
Ferguson Foundation and Anacostia Watershed Society collected over 3,500 straws at their Potomac
Watershed and Earth Day cleanups.

Foam Free DC:
WASHINGTON, D.C.
Since January 1, 2016 all businesses and organizations are banned from serving food in expanded polystyrene
(EPS) containers. This includes plates, cups, clamshells, foam peanuts, and other foam packaging items

MARYLAND
Maryland-Montgomery County:
Montgomery County has 5 cent fee for all retail establishments for giving out paper or plastic bags. The revenue
goes to the Water Quality Protection Charge fund. Expanded polystyrene foam food packaging was banned from
restaurants and retail stores in 2015.

Maryland- Statewide:
Beginning July 1, 2020, expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service products will be banned.
Legislation has been introduced to ban all plastic shopping bags and charge a fee for paper in the entire state.
It would charge customers 10 cents for “durable bags” like paper bags at checkout.

VIRGINIA
A bill has been proposed that would implement a 5 cent fee on plastic bags:
https://www.npr.org/local/305/2020/01/14/796209642/plastic-bags-could-be-banned-in-maryland-taxed-in-virginia
FEDERAL
The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020 has been introduced in both the House and Senate. This bill would reduce single-use plastic production and use, improve producer responsibility in design, recycling, and disposal of their consumer products, and prevent pollution from consumer products from entering waterways