An eastern Iowa city is considering a ban on plastic grocery bags. Iowa City Mayor Regenia Bailey says the issue will be discussed at an upcoming city council work session.
She’s not sure if a plastic bag ban would actually make a difference. “If one community decides to ban (plastic bags), it’s very difficult to accomplish the goals of keeping them out of landfills, trees and waterways if (neighboring) communities do not do the same,” Bailey said.
Council member Connie Champion, who introduced the bag ban idea at a meeting earlier this month, says she’s not necessarily an advocate the proposal – but simply feels it’s worth discussion.
Bailey says the non-biodegradable bags often become litter. The bags are sometimes found stuck in trees and contaminate rivers and lakes. More shoppers are avoiding plastic bags by taking reusable canvas bags to grocery or retail stores. “So, the question is do we need an ordinance or do we just need to support what the market is doing for us already,” Bailey said.
Other measures to reduce the use of plastic bags in Iowa City will also be considered. “I think other measures could be encouragment, education and information,” Bailey said. San Francisco banned plastic bags last year. Cities such as Phoenix, Seattle, Boston, Portland and Madison, Wisconsin have explored similar measures.