In 2016, then-Governor Rick Snyder signed a law to ban local governments in Michigan from banning plastic bags. Now, new legislation has been filed to repeal that “What this repeal does is makes it possible for local communities to make a decision about whether or not they want to regulate plastic bags and other plastic single-use containers,” said Senator Sue Shink (D-Northfield Township), who sponsors the legislation.
Shink said local governments have to deal with the costs of plastics that are not disposed of properly. “If there are plastic bags that can’t be recycled or get stuck in the wastewater treatment plant or just littering the side of the road, it’s local government, the people who are there to clean up the mess,” she said. An increasing amount of plastics is polluting the Great Lakes and and breaking down into microscopic pieces. Plastic microfibers are getting into drinking water.
Opponents say a local plastic bag and container ban would be a hardship on businesses and people. “There is a tremendous impact on not just your typical retailer, but also restaurants. And there is significant impact on consumers,” said Andrea Bitely with the Michigan Retailers Association. She said COVID forced many restaurants to find the correct containers to deliver food. It would have a great impact on them if they had to use something that would not allow their food to travel as well. She also said the ban would be a hardship for people who cannot afford to buy canvas bags to bring to stores or to purchase them on site.