Minneapolis will mount a new attack on single-use plastic bags, hoping a nickel charge for each one will encourage shoppers to bring their own. Two years ago, the city moved to ban them altogether, only to find their ordinance outlawed by the Legislature one day before it was to go into effect. Council Member Cam Gordon, who wrote the ban, then suggested making shoppers pay for their bags, though he held off on the idea to see if lawmakers would reverse course.
Gordon says it’s now time for the city to get tough on disposable bags. His ordinance would charge 5 cents for each bag — paper, plastic and reusable — given out at grocery stores, convenience stores and other retailers. That nickel fee would be kept by the businesses. The renewed effort is part of a wave of actions to alter what city leaders see as problematic behavior, from putting new restrictions on cigarette sales to cutting down on parking to encourage bike use.
If it puts the bag fee in place, Minneapolis would join hundreds of governments across the country that either charge fees for bags or ban plastic bags altogether. California and Hawaii have both enacted statewide plastic bag bans.
Duluth city leaders are also preparing to pass a 5-cent fee on bags. On Monday, the Duluth City Council removed paper bags from their proposal. In an interview, Gordon said he’s hoping to reduce litter and the downstream effects of plastic on the environment. The public’s awareness of plastic pollution in the ocean and elsewhere has grown steadily in recent years.