Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach is set to propose a plastic bag ban Monday. A full council vote could come in April; if approved, it would go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.
“Countless bags end up littering our communities and polluting our rivers. And it takes every single one of these bags at least 1,000 years to disintegrate,” Seelbach told The Enquirer. “Moving away from flimsy bags allows us to clean up our community, save money and help the environment.”
Among those who support the idea: Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen and Mayor John Cranley. Cincinnati’s Green Cincinnati Plan, approved in 2018, proposed a 5- or 10-cent fee on plastic bags, but was never put in place.
In 2018, Kroger became the first major US retailer to announce a phase out of single-use plastic bags at check out.
Our commitment supports Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan and recognizes we have a responsibility to reduce unnecessary plastic waste that harms our environment and endangers our ecosystem.
Kroger supports the City of Cincinnati’s proposal to accelerate this work.
We like three specific aspects of the proposed ordinance: First, applying the single-use plastic shopping bag ban to both restaurants and retailers is important because we need a community-wide effort to reduce plastic waste to bring us closer to our goal of creating communities free of waste.
Second, the inclusion of a small fee on single-use paper bags has proven effective at moving consumers toward reusable bag alternatives, and our ultimate goal is to shift completely over to reusable bags.
And third, the proposal provides relief by exempting low-income shoppers from paying this fee.
Kroger intends to transition to a reusable bag model in all of our stores by 2025. To support our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan during this transition period, Kroger will continue to offer customers in-store recycling services for plastic bags and other plastic films, including produce bags, bread bags, deflated air pillows and more.
We thank Councilman Seelbach and his staff for including Kroger in the development of this proposal.
Some Ohio lawmakers want to forbid cities and counties from imposing bans on the use of plastic bags, a measure even passed in the Ohio House of Representatives.
But that measure still needs Senate approval, but there are no plans to vote on it at this point.
Cuyahoga County in Ohio banned plastic bag use beginning this year. And some states are taking a more sweeping approach to plastic bag use.
- Washington, D.C., charges 5 cents for every paper or plastic bag used for takeout.
- California bans most plastic bags and charges a 10-cent fee on reusable plastic bags and recycled paper bags.
- New York implemented a statewide ban on plastic bags starting this month, with New York City shoppers charged 5 cents for paper bags.
Cincinnati’s plastic bag ban would restrict the distribution of single-use plastic bags for foodservice establishments such as grocery stores and restaurants in the city of Cincinnati.
The purpose of the ban is to reduce waste, litter and pollution.
Exempt from the ban: Farmers’ markets or similar temporary vendors.
Customers who show proof of receiving public assistance are also exempt.
Stores can sell recyclable bags, but they must contain at least 40% recycled material. Buying one will cost customers at nickel, a charge which must be included on the receipt.
While the law would take effect next January, there will be a six month grace period before penalties kick in.
The bill would impose new reporting requirements on grocery stores, according to a fact sheet distributed by Seelbach.
Stores would have to report how many recycled or reusable bags they gave out to customers, for example.
The Cincinnati Health Department will enforce the ordinance. A first offense is punishable with a $100 fine. Fines double if multiple offenses are proven.
Published on eu.cincinnati.com