The Cuyahoga County Council is showing signs of supporting an ordinance that would ban the use of single-use plastic bags in the county.
The council’s Education, Environment, and Sustainability Committee discussed the ban during a meeting last week, and all members expressed support. Council President Dan Brady told The Cleveland Plain Dealer that he supports the ban, meaning the measure now has the six votes necessary to secure a majority of the 11-member council.
“We as a council dealt with this issue for quite a while some time ago. We’ve learned a lot, we’ve worked it through. I believe we’ve got a proposal with broad consensus, and so I just wanted to indicate that I’m certainly in support and I would like my name to be added as a cosponsor,” Brady said to applause during Wednesday’s committee meeting.
If passed, the ban wouldn’t go into effect until October 1 so that retailers have time to adjust to the ban. For each day a retailer fails to comply, they would be subjected to a written warning, followed by a $100 fine and a $500 fine.
“We’ve heard from the community, there’s broad support and I think it’s time to move forward,” Councilman Dale Miller said.
Councilwoman Sunny Simon spearheaded the idea and said during Wednesday’s meeting that the ban has been in the works since 2012.
“This started as an idea in 2012 when I was a brand new member of the county council and was watching the problem with plastic and the great garbage patch in the ocean was the size, I believe, of Texas at that time,” she said. “Every year it’s getting worse and I’m so pleased we’ve been able to work together as colleagues. It’s not an easy issue to make this kind of change.”
“This is our cathedral. Teddy Roosevelt saw this as a legacy that we have to preserve. This is our future and this is so impactful,” she added, noting that 319 million plastic bags are used annually in Cuyahoga County.
The ordinance will now go to the full council for a vote with a recommendation for passage from the Education, Environment, and Sustainability Committee.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Grocery Cart” by Peteruetz CC4.0.