At last Tuesday’s meeting, the Council approved a letter opposing certain provision to County’s Better Bag Bill

The City and the County both have enacted “better bag” legislation requiring (with some exemptions) retailers to charge a minimum of 10 cents for paper bags and prohibiting plastic single-use bags. CB-79-23 would amend the County bill to make 10 cents per paper bag the maximum charge; exempts customers who receive federal and state supplemental nutrition assistance from the charge; and exempts the charge for drive-thru food service and leftovers from restaurants.

The Committee for a Better Environment discussed the proposed legislation and voted to oppose the change making 10 cents per paper bag the maximum charge. Such a change would pass additional costs to businesses (bags often cost more than 10 cents) and disincentivize use of reusable bags—undermining the intent of the original legislation. The City’s legislation exempts pharmacies from the charge for paper bags but does not exempt drive-thru restaurants or leftovers from the paper bag charge.

The City also has provided free re-usable bags to food service providers, schools, businesses, and others.

Amendments to the County bill that would expand exemptions for certain businesses and that would make 10 cents the maximum charge would likely create confusion because the legislation differs from that in several municipalities. The City legislation is not required to be identical to the County legislation.

The County Council Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and the Environment Committee will discuss CB-79-23 on Thursday, September 28th.