City Council to vote on potential ban of plastic bags at Cincinnati grocery stores

Seelbach: City will pass ordinance banning single-use plastic bags

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The choice between paper or plastic grocery bags might soon be a thing of the past when shopping in Cincinnati.

Single-use plastic bags, like the ones you might get from Kroger or Walmart, have become a mainstay in many households but that is about to change.

Cincinnati City Council is expected to vote this week on banning the bags at all grocery stores, restaurants, and any business that sells food.

The proposal was first introduced back in March but was put on the back burner when the pandemic hit.

Under the plan, you would bring your own reusable tote to the store or get one there for a 5 cent fee.

“Americans use about 22 billion single-use plastic bags every year and it can take up to a thousand years for just one of them to degrade into our planet and while it’s doing that. it’s giving off methane and toxic gases into our environment,” explained Councilman Chris Seelbach.

Seelbach says the City Health Department will enforce the new law but will work with businesses to come into compliance.

If businesses don’t comply, Seelbach says the business will be charged a $100 fine per day.

Kroger says it will transition all of its stores by 2025 and supports the ban saying reducing plastic waste.

Here’s a statement from Kroger in 2018:

"In 2018, Kroger became the first major US retailer to announce a phase-out of single-use plastic bags at check out. Our commitment supports Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan and recognizes we have a responsibility to reduce unnecessary plastic waste that harms our environment and endangers our ecosystem.

"Kroger supports the City of Cincinnati’s proposal to accelerate this work. We like three specific aspects of the proposed ordinance: First, applying the single-use plastic shopping bag ban to both restaurants and retailers is important because we need a community-wide effort to reduce plastic waste to bring us closer to our goal of creating communities free of waste. Second, the inclusion of a small fee on single-use paper bags has proven effective at moving consumers toward reusable bag alternatives, and our ultimate goal is to shift completely over to reusable bags. And third, the proposal provides relief by exempting low-income shoppers from paying this fee.

“Kroger intends to transition to a reusable bag model in all of our stores by 2025. To support our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan during this transition period, Kroger will continue to offer customers in-store recycling services for plastic bags and other plastic films, including produce bags, bread bags, deflated air pillows and more.”

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