Local Politics

Lawmakers look at bagging plastic option in stores

Posted March 26, 2009 5:32 p.m. EDT
Updated March 27, 2009 8:49 a.m. EDT

— 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.

"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.