Ordinance regulating carryout bags will not take effect June 1

City exploring potential amendments

A Minneapolis ordinance regulating carryout bags will not take effect June 1 due to a statute passed by the State Legislature prohibiting cities from imposing any ban on the use of bags.

Enforcement will not begin on the new ordinance while the City explores potential amendments to address the remainder consistent with State law.

Shoppers encouraged to bring own bags

Shoppers are encouraged to use their own bags to reduce the litter, waste, environmental impacts and expense of managing carryout bags.

Carryout bags have significant impacts on the environment and waste stream. Reducing the number of paper and plastic shopping bags can have a positive impact by cutting down on litter, the effects of a material that never breaks down, and the expense of managing bags at recycling facilities.

  • Litter
    • In 2002, 50 million to 80 million bags in the U.S. ended up as litter.
    • Once plastic enters the environment, it never leaves; the pieces just become smaller and smaller.
  • Waste production
    • Minnesotans throw away 87,000 tons of plastic bags every year.
    • In Minneapolis, most plastic bags end up in the downtown garbage burner.
    • In the U.S., less than 5 percent of standard HDPE plastic bags are recycled while more than 49 percent of paper bags are.
    • All bags require energy to make, create waste, and cause greenhouse gas emissions and air and water pollution.
    • Plastic carryout bags create 9 pounds of solid waste, 18 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and 2 pounds of water pollution per 10,000 uses.
    • Plastic bags that end up in regular recycling facilities are not recycled.
  • Expense to manage
    • Plastic bags wrap around sorting machines, requiring the sorting line to be shut down several times each day.