Local Politics

Lawmakers look at bagging plastic option in stores

Posted March 26, 2009
Updated March 27, 2009

— The choice of bagging with paper or plastic at retail checkout counters could soon be taken away from North Carolina shoppers.

State lawmakers are considering a ban on plastic bags to cut down on roadside litter and to prevent plastic bags from winding up  in streams or landfills.

Plastic grocery bags Bag ban would cut down on litter

"They float around in the breeze when people let them out of their cars," Sue Dennis of Fayetteville Beautiful said of plastic bags. "They don't go away. The just stick wherever they land. It's a shame."

Senate Bill 1018 and House Bill 810 wouldn't apply to plastic used for wrapping fresh meats and produce, biodegradable plastic bags and thicker, reusable plastic bags that many stores now offer.

Retailers who continue to offer plastic bags could face fines of up to $500.

San Francisco enacted the nation's first ban on plastic bags in 2007. Other locations require shoppers to pay extra to use plastic bags, such as a 20-cent bag surcharge in Seattle.

Some shoppers said they like the convenience of plastic bags and don't like the idea of a bag ban.

"It would be hard for me to go back," Sandy Alger said.

Others said they could live without plastic bags.

"I have Wal-Mart bags. I have Harris Teeter Bags. Wherever I go, I buy a couple of bags," said Barbara McCabe, who noted she uses canvas bags for most of shopping.

McCabe also noted petroleum is used to make the plastic bags, so a ban "will cut back on resources we need for other things."

Fayetteville Beautiful’s Spring Litter Cleanup is scheduled for April 18. To volunteer, call 910-425-4353.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • wcumom Mar 30, 2009

    I can see me now.4 two liter bottles of pepsi going into a "cloth bag",X-tra large box of gain along with bleach and downy.OK,that's two bags full.Now I wonder how many more bags I will need for approx.$400.00 worth of groceries I purchase once a month.I guess I will not be saving as much because I will have to make more trips to the store instead of one big trip.Makes sense to me!Save the bags and use more gas.

  • meeper Mar 27, 2009

    Where is it all going to end? Is there anything left that's not going to be regulated, taxed, outlawed and banned? We're losing more and more freedoms each day! I guess no one cares. When is enough enough!

  • Bendal1 Mar 27, 2009

    Plastic bags can be recycled, but it takes so many of them to make it economical that there's very little demand for them. I use vinyl or cloth bags whenever I go grocery shopping, and could live with paper bags or carry a cloth bag when shopping at other stores. I don't like the idea of an outright ban, just require stores to charge a small fee for each one and soon enough the customers would change their habits.

  • mpheels Mar 27, 2009

    Maybe we should do what grocers in many European countries do... Charge customers for the bags. Those who want to save money/the environment will bring reusable bags. If you forget your reusable bag, think of it as a stupid tax. If you use the bags for other purposes (trash, dog waste), then you're paying the actual cost of the materials you're using.

    When I remember to bring them (~75% of the time) I use reusable bags. I have not purchased a single bag, they are all bags I've collected and conferences over the years. The only exception is my Chico bag, which was a gift. It's fantastic, nylon, constructed like a plastic grocery bag but 30% larger, holds up to 20 pounds, and squeezes into its own drawstring pouch.

  • rocket Mar 27, 2009

    Don't laugh at my doofy looking bag... the government made me do it.

  • mjeffrey Mar 27, 2009

    I dont like the idea of banning them.
    What else are we supposed to use for picking up after our dogs. Reusable bags are fine for carrying groceries but, I dont want to use one to pick up after my dog. If they feel like they must, I would be willing to pay 5 or 10 cents for a bag, but not much more.

  • Panther Mar 27, 2009

    The last time I was in Europe they do not use plastic or paper bags. Everyone brings their own canvas bags to the store and bags their own groceries. I carry my own canvas bags because its easer for me to carry them into the house. The arguments here sound the same like when unleaded gas first came out. Change people Change! It’s inevitable

  • rocket Mar 27, 2009

    I'm with ya colliedave... if left unchecked this movement will destroy America as we know it.

  • colliedave Mar 27, 2009

    Can we just ban Greenies by shipping Al Gore and his minions to another planet?

  • rocket Mar 27, 2009

    "And if I ever see you throwing trash out your car window, well Goddess help you. Cause Mother Earth says "I ain't your Mama!!" and "Get off my planet vermin!""

    What would you do, exactly? Hippy dance me to death?