Iowa City to Discuss Plastic Bag Ban

By Gregg Hennigan, Reporter

FILE - This June 2, 2010 file photo shows a customer putting plastics bags in a recycling bin at a grocery store in Palo Alto, Calif. The Los Angeles City Council is set to vote on whether to ban plastic bags at grocery stores in the nation's second-largest city. Backers of the measure say it is necessary to keep massive numbers of single-use plastic bags out of landfills, rivers and the ocean. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The City Council will discuss next week whether plastic grocery bags should be banned in Iowa City.

City staff twice this fall has recommended against outlawing the bags, but council members will weigh in at a work session Dec. 4.

City officials say several groups have approached the city in recent years seeking a ban on plastic bags for environmental reasons. The latest is 100 Grannies for a Livable Future, a community organization made up primarily of older women interested in environmental issues.

In September and again in October, Iowa City’s recycling coordinator said a plastic bag ban was not necessary in Iowa City. Jen Jordan said the promotion of tote bags, plentiful recycling options and educational campaigns have served Iowa City well and the focus should be on continuing those efforts.

The City Council discussed the issue a few years ago and decided against moving forward with a ban. Five of the seven current council members are new since then.

Communities nationwide and internationally have prohibited plastic bags or charged a fee for their use. Some of those U.S. policies have been challenged in court.

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