Plastic grocery bags could cost 10 cents each for Cuyahoga County shoppers

Cuyahoga County proposal could establish plastic bag fee to encourage conservation
Published: Oct. 10, 2017 at 4:23 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 10, 2017 at 9:56 PM EDT
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CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - If Cuyahoga County Council has its way, you may want to start to BYOB -- Bring Your Own Bag -- when you do your grocery shopping.

Council is introducing an ordinance Tuesday, that would set a 10-cent fee for every plastic bag used.

About half of the cost would go to the store and the other half to the county.

Standing outside a grocery store, it doesn't take long to see just how many plastic and paper bags people really use.

Amanda Malone says she ditched the bags a year ago when she moved downtown.

"They are easier to carry around, and I just feel like I always have a ton of those plastic bags laying around," Malone said.

Cuyahoga County is hoping more people start following Malone's lead.

"One of our greatest resources is Lake Erie and it has been found through the research to be littered with 5.5 million pounds of plastic every year," said Cuyahoga County Council Member Sunny Simon.

Simon introduced the legislation that would tax every bag, paper or plastic.  Four cents will go to the store, and 6 cents will go to the county.

"The county will use the money to clean up the lakes and rivers and creeks, and pick up trash throughout the county," Simon said.

Destinee Henton is with the Alliance for the Great Lakes says a similar ordinance in Chicago has been successful.

"It has reduced the amount of plastic that they've used in the city by 42%," Henton said.

We asked several area grocery stores, but many had just heard about the proposal.

Zagara's said as part of their store rewards, they give customers 5 cents per bag for using their own bags, and they will continue doing that. Many at the meeting were in favor.

"It will reduce landfill costs. Plastic bags comprise 2% of the waste in Cuyahoga County. That's a half million dollars a year that local governments pay to dispose of that material," said a woman representing Cuyahoga County Solid Waste.

Not everyone is on board.

"Why would they charge you for plastic?" Joe said.

Joe said he's willing to drive a little farther to avoid the tax.

"I would go to Lorain County for the free bags," Joe said.

If this proposal gets approved it would go into effect the summer of 2018.

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