Will Legislators Bag Minneapolis Plastic Bag Ban?
It may not be too late to save freedom of choice at the checkout line in Minneapolis. All Minnesotans’ ability to choose between paper or plastic at their local grocery store would remain secure under legislation gaining momentum in the Minnesota House.
The bill forwarded by Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia) bars local governments from enacting ordinances that ban bags–plastic or otherwise–or putting a fee or tax on using grocery bags provided by merchants.
The measure would also retroactively roll back plastic bag bans like the 1,200 word Minneapolis ordinance set to take effect on June 1, 2017. The state law as drafted would go on the books the day before the Minneapolis plastic bag ban hits consumers and stores.
Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon said his ordinance, adopted last year and set to take effect June 1, 2017, was the result of a year of study, prompted by constituents eager for the city to follow the lead of such places as Seattle and Hawaii.
But Jamie Pfuhl, president of the Minnesota Grocers Association, said, “Businesses cannot be the experimental grounds for cities’ whims.”
Minneapolis is the only Minnesota city to pass a plastic bag ban ordinance to date. But environmental activists hope to convince the Duluth City Council to take similar action soon, unless Minnesota lawmakers beat them to it.
“This is all aimed at reducing our footprint and encouraging re-use. We’ve come to the realization that we have to get away from this disposable, throw-away society we have become but that, I think, no one really wants. What we need are alternatives,” said Jamie Harvie, Bag it Duluth campaign coordinator.
Environmentalists claim plastic bags clog up landfills, while industry supporters say plastic bags are the most environmentally friendly option and support tens of thousands of jobs.