Bandalong Traps and Beverage Trash
Many people ask us about the bag fee. Is it working? Where does the money go? These are very important questions - after all, the purpose of good environmental policy is to improve the environment. The answer can be found in the characterization of the trash we capture.
DC's Bandalong Trash Traps, located in Kenilworth and Marvin Gaye Parks and at James Creek Marina are one type of project the bag tax money supports. The Bandalongs capture floating trash as it comes down the storm drain or creek adjacent to the trap. Anacostia Riverkeeper and our partners at Groundwork Anacostia River DC have jointly managed the Bandalong program for many years. Capturing and removing trash is only one important aspect. The characterization data is perhaps more important. For example, we can definitively say the bag fee is working, because we know that plastic bags now make up only about 5% of the captured trash, whereas before the bag fee, that number was around 20%.
But if bags are only making up 5% of the litter, what's the other 95%?
Almost 80% of the litter captured by our traps is single-use beverage containers. Plastic bottles make up 60%, glass bottles, aluminum cans and styrofoam cups round out the other 20%. Most of these beverage containers could have been recycled, but instead wound up in our creeks.
We all can do better.