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Plastic Recycling September 23, 2019 11:30:40 AM

Duluth City Council Ponders 5-Cent Fee on Single-use Plastic Bags

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
The proposed ordinance does not prevent customers from using a single-use plastic bag. It simply requires that customers pay for single-use plastic bags.

Duluth City Council Ponders 5-Cent Fee on Single-use Plastic Bags

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The Duluth City Council will consider a 5-cent fee on single-use plastic bags. The ordinance that requires retailers to charge customers for carry out bags was introduced by Councilor Em Westerlund. The ordinance aims to promote reuse through a change in customer behavior. The vote on the ordinance is expected by around mid-October this year.

ALSO READ: Anchorage City Implements Stringent Ban on Plastic Bags

The proposed ordinance does not prevent customers from using a single-use plastic bag. It simply requires that customers pay for single-use plastic bags. At the same time, it exempts certain categories of plastic bags such as bags containing prescription drugs from pharmacists and bags for carrying produce or meat. Also, restaurants will be allowed to provide single-use plastic bags for take-out food. Other exceptions include newspaper bags, dry-cleaning bags, door-hanging bags, garment bags and bags to protect fine art. In addition, those on WIC or SNAP will be exempted from the bag fee.

As per the ordinance, retailers are allowed to charge even more than 5 cent fee per bag. However, the charges must appear on the customer’s receipt. The fee thus collected would stay with the stores, which will be used to meet the cost of bags.

According to the Council, studies in cities and countries that have implemented fee on bags indicate nearly 70-90% shift towards the reuse of carryout bags. On the other hand, ban on plastic bags has led to increased use of single-use paper bags, thereby not accomplishing reuse of shopping bags.

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