City Council to consider plastic bag tax

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City Council to consider plastic bag tax
A reusable shopping bag from Mason & Greens. (Courtesy photo)
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By Cody Mello-Klein | cmelloklein@alextimes.com

City Council is set to consider a proposal for a five-cent local tax on all disposable plastic bags offered at grocery, convenience and drug stores during its Sept. 14 legislative meeting.

The funds collected from the tax, which would involve a charge on each plastic bag used at checkout, would be used by the city on environmental cleanup, environmental education programs, pollution and litter mitigation efforts and reusable bags for those in the supplemental nutrition program, according to a news release.

This is not the first time the city has discussed implementing a plastic bag tax. According to the release, in 2017 the city identified a plastic bag tax as a viable way to reduce the impact of disposable plastic bags on the environment. In May 2021, the city reached out to local businesses for feedback. According to state law, businesses affected by the tax would retain two cents of every five cents collected through the tax until Jan. 1, 2023. They would then collect one cent per plastic bag taxed after that date.

A virtual information session was held on Wednesday, and council will review a draft of the proposed ordinance during the legislative meeting at 7 p.m. on Sept. 14. A public hearing is scheduled to follow on Sept. 18 at 9:30 a.m., during which council will cast a final vote. If council adopts the tax, it will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2022.

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