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Shopping Bag Policy Review

Ann Arbor Explores Shopping Bag Policies

City of Ann Arbor officials are considering policies that reduce the litter and waste from disposable shopping bags and encourage consumers to choose reusable shopping bags. The public has provided input on a range of possible local shopping bag policies through online surveys and business focus group sessions. The comments received will help shape future City Council actions.

Background

Plastic shopping bags did not exist 30 years ago. Today the typical American consumer uses over ten bags per week. Bags have become a concern to some of the public because bags contribute to local litter and are not easily recycled except at special drop-off sites. On a more global level, plastic consumer debris damages river and ocean ecology and requires expensive cleanup efforts. Plastic bags labeled “compostable” are not easily biodegradable in litter situations and will contaminate efforts to recycle conventional plastic grocery bags. Paper bags, although they are easily recyclable and will decompose over time, still require fuel to manufacture and transport and encourage one-time use. Promoting the use of reusable bags will help reduce consumer “carbon footprints."

As of February 2009, a per-bag fee is being considered in many U.S. cities and states, including Seattle, Wash.; Maine; and New York City. Disposable plastic grocery bags have been banned in San Francisco, Calif.; Westport, Conn; and a number of other locations worldwide.   

Ann Arbor Residents and Consumers: March-April Survey

An online survey was provided for residents and consumers from mid-March through April 2009. Please send your general comments on implementing possible shopping bag restrictions and promoting reusable bags to Katie at 734.794.6000 extension 4-3728 and via recycle@a2gov.org.

Ann Arbor Businesses: March-April Focus Groups and Survey

Business Focus Groups -- thanks for the participation! Interested business representatives attended  brief business focus group discussions on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 8:30-9:30 a.m. at Zingerman’s Road House, 2501 Jackson Road (at the Maple intersection); and Thursday, April 2, 2009 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Office at 150 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 301, in downtown Ann Arbor between E. Huron and E. Washington.  

An online survey was provided for business owners and employees from mid-March through April 2009. Please send your general comments on implementing possible shopping bag restrictions and promoting reusable bags to Katie at 734.794.6000 extension 4-3728 and via recycle@a2gov.org.

Additional information:

  • FAQs on shopping bag issues, compiled to assist with community discussion. Link to a 2-page pdf. Thank you again for your comments.
  • Remember to wash your reusable bags. Link to an outside Recyclebank web page for more information here.

 

 


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