Baltimore City Council Approves Retail Plastic Bag Ban

A Baltimore Sun article (2019-11-04) reports that the Baltimore City Council has given preliminary approval for a ban on retailers’ use of plastic bags.

The article notes that attempts have been made since 2006 to ban the use of plastic bags in the city, but all have failed for a varying reasons. As previously reported by Conduit Street, this particular piece of legislation had stalled over debates regarding the fee structure of other types of bags.

From the article:

The current legislation would forbid retailers from giving out plastic bags, and require them to charge a nickel for any other bag they supply to shoppers, including paper bags. It would apply to grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, restaurants and gas stations, although some types of products would be exempt, such as fresh fish, meat or produce, newspapers, dry cleaning and prescription drugs.

Retailers would keep 4 cents from the fee for each alternative bag they supply, such as a paper bag, with a penny going to city coffers. The bill would ban plastic bags with a thickness of less than four-thousandths of an inch. The amendment by Henry deleted language about bags that can be reused; Henry sought the change because he said some bag manufacturers claim even their thin bags can be reused. The amendment passed on an 8-5 vote.

The legislation requires one more vote at the upcoming November 18th meeting to send it to the Mayor’s desk for final approval. The Mayor has previously stated he is in support of a full ban.