City passes ordinance to require 5 cent fee for carryout bags Shoppers bringing their own bags will reduce litter and trash, recycling problems, resource waste

In late November the Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance requiring retail establishments to charge a fee of at least 5 cents for carryout bags. The retail establishments will keep the fees. The requirement will go into effect January 1.

The goals of this requirement are to: Encourage shoppers to bring their own bags; protect resources used to produce paper and plastic bags; reduce litter; reduce waste (Minnesotans throw away 87,000 tons of plastic bags every year and recycle less than 5 percent of them); and keep plastic bags from clogging the gears in recycling facilities, which workers spend four-six hours a day removing.

“Preventing the spread of plastics in our water and environment is not just an issue for Minneapolis but for our entire planet,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “In this case, thinking globally begins locally.”

Exemptions include bags used for produce, bulk foods, small items, carryout restaurants, farmers markets, food banks, retail establishments that do not possess a cash register; secondhand bags, bags sold in packages, dry cleaning bags, bags given out with no transaction; bags given at hospitals, car dealerships and car washes; and bags used for litter cleanup.

People can call 311 about retailers who aren’t complying with the ordinance after January 1.

This ordinance came through extensive outreach with businesses and business groups. The City will do extensive outreach with businesses and work on educating with no fines for the first six months.