Minneapolis plastic bag ban passes city council

The Minneapolis plastic bag ban passed on a 10-3 vote at Friday morning’s city council meeting. The ban on single-use plastic carryout bags will take effect on June 1, 2017, with a few exceptions (listed at the bottom of this article).

The Bring Your Own Bag ordinance, authored by Councilmembers Cam Gordon and Abdi Warsame, seeks “to reduce litter, waste, lifecycle environmental impacts, and negative impacts on recycling facilities of single-use bags, and incentivize Minneapolis consumers to use reusable bags.” But lobbyists and council members opposing the ban argued it will make an insignificant environmental impact, while placing a significant burden on businesses and consumers.

“This ordinance will raise the cost of groceries in Minneapolis,” City Council President Barb Johnson said.

Johnson and council members John Quincy and Blong Yang were the 3 votes against the ban.

An amendment introduced by Councilman Andrew Johnson gives businesses the option of paying into a cleanup fund instead of charging customers 5 cents for a paper bag. That amendment passed on a 7-6 vote.

Not all plastic bags are banned. Plastic bags still allowed under the ordinance include:

Bags without handles used by customers inside stores to package bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, greeting cards, or small hardware items, such as nails and bolts, or to contain or wrap frozen foods, meat or fish, whether prepackaged or not, or to contain or wrap flowers or potted plants, or other items where dampness may be a problem, or to contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods, or to contain prescription drugs.

Bags used to safeguard public health and safety during the transportation of prepared take-out foods and prepared liquids intended for consumption away from the retail establishment.

Newspaper bags, door-hanger bags, laundry-dry cleaning bags, bags used to protect fine art paper, or bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for use as garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags.