Memphis Considers Plastic Bag Tax

City Council is reviewing a proposal for 7-cent plastic bag fee.
November 07, 2018

MEMPHIS – Today, the Memphis City Council is facing a proposal to create a 7-cent plastic bag tax that would be enforced at "a drug store, supermarket or retail establishment that has over 2,000 square feet of retail space or is part of a chain." 

The Memphis Business Journal writes that the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association (TGCSA) believes that a statewide rule would be more efficient and streamlined than a multitude of varied and individual city regulations.

"Our members would find it much easier to operate with just one set of rules," said Rob Ikard, president of the TGCSA, to the Memphis Business Journal. "This is just going to be an added cost of buying food."

Five cents of the 7-cent tax would be remitted to the city and the remaining 2 cents would remain with grocers as a handling fee for compliance. The ordinance would also give an exemption to customers age 65 and older as well as those purchasing groceries with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds.

Council Chairman Berlin Boyd says the city spends nearly $3 million to $4 million a year on plastic bag disposal.