Members of the Cuyahoga County Council are discussing placing a ban on disposable plastic shopping bags. The measure was introduced by County Council members District 11 Sunny M. Simon and District 2 Dale Miller on April 9 and referred to the Education, Environment and Sustainability Committee. It is expected to be voted upon later this month.
The legislation states that “the precipitous increase in plastic production and plastic consumption over the past seventy years has resulted in approximately 269,000 tons of globally distributed plastic waste pollution, particularly in oceans, lakes, and other marine waterways; and, plastic waste is not bio-degradable and recycled plastic suffers from polymer degradation, limiting its useful life as a recyclable material, inevitably resulting in non-biodegradable microplastic particle pollution.” It goes on to note that the disposable plastic bags that have been discarded are a major source of litter and imposes cleanup, removal and processing costs on communities.
The legislation was written to discourage the wasteful use of the bags.
The legislation also references China’s “National Sword” policy, which prohibits the acceptance of twenty four types of recycled waste, including the disposable plastic bags. By doing this, it has diminished the market for these bags.
The definition of disposal plastic bag is one that is made of plastic and provided by a retail establishment at a point of sale for the purpose of transporting items purchased. It goes on to state, however that “. Disposable Plastic Bag does not include:
1. a bag the customer brought with them to the Retail Establishment,
2. a newspaper bag,
3. a bag provided by a pharmacist that contains a prescription drug,
4. a bag used to package a bulk item or to contain or wrap a perishable item such as
meat, fish, produce, baked goods, or flowers,
5. a bag that a restaurant gives a customer to take prepared or leftover food or drink
from the restaurant,
6. a bag intended for use as a dry cleaning, garbage, or yard waste bag,
7. pre-packaged bags used for the collection of pet waste,
8. Non-Permitted Paper Bags and Permitted Paper Bags, as defined in this Chapter,
9. Bags provided to the consumer for the purpose of transporting a partially consumed bottle of wine pursuant to Section 4301.62(E) of the Ohio Revised Code, or
10. a bag provided at curbside pickup or point of delivery.”
Any retail establishment that violates the law would be subject to a written warning for the first violation, a fine of up to $100 for a second violation and a fine of up to $500 for each subsequent violation. The measure will be enforced by the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs.
District 5 County Councilman, Michael J. Gallagher represents North Royalton as part of his district. He noted that he would not be voting for the measure, as the ban is not across the board. He also said that the county had more important issues that they should be addressing, such as senior benefits.
For more information about this and other legislation the county is addressing, visit the county website: For those wishing to address County Council members:
Dan Brady, President
Office: (216) 698-2014

Pernel Jones, Jr., Vice-President
Office: (216) 698-2019

District 5: Michael J. Gallagher
Office: (216) 698-2015

Contributing Writer