Cuyahoga Council ten cent fee for plastic bags is a bad idea.
The new Ordinance introduced by Cuyahoga Council members Sunny Simon and Dale Miller to charge ten cents for every paper and plastic carry out bag at retail stores is a bad idea. The plastic bags are a convenience and service provided to the customers for their purchases. (Isn’t the cost already included in the purchase?) Will the fee make people pay twice?
Simon has said that plastics are polluting Lake Erie. But she has not said if plastic bags are causing the plastic pollution in Lake Erie, or what she will do about other sources of plastic pollution in Lake Erie (like plastic bottles.)
The ten cent fee is a huge markup for a one cent bag. That is like paying a ten dollar fee for a one dollar item. In the Ordinance, the Cuyahoga Council calls it a fee. If they called it a tax, would it be illegal?
Simon has said that 319 million plastic bags are used each year, and the ten cent fee is to deter their use. If the County expects less plastic bags use, why is the County planning to create an Environmental Remedial Fund to collect the fees from the bag sales? If the fee does not deter plastic bag use, and if sales stay the same, this could amount $31,900,000 in revenue to be divided between the County and the grocers. (319,000,000 million bags times x .10 = $31,900,000.)
That is a lot of money!
From each ten cents collected, the County receives six cents and the retailers keep four cents.
The County will get $19,140,000 (319,000,000 million bags x .06 = $19,140,000), and the grocers will get $12,760,000 (319 million bags x .04 cents = $12,760,000.)
Plastic bags are made in the USA! The County will be making money off of the workers who manufacture these plastic bags!
People reuse them for household purposes, and plastic bags can be recycled at the grocery store.
How will the County use the nineteen million dollars to clean up Lake Erie?
Simon has stated that there are microplastics in Lake Erie, and people are drinking the small particles of plastic. But, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, a lot of microplastics come from toothpastes, facial scrubs, and fibers that are shed from synthetic fabrics in the laundry, not from plastic bags. Microplastics also come from agricultural runoff. What will Simon do about this problem?
If Simon is concerned about plastic pollution in Lake Erie, what is she doing about plastic bottles that are a major source of pollution? The plastic bottle pollution seems to be worse that the plastic bag problem, because there is a huge floating plastic bottle island in Lake Erie. It is called "the Lake Erie garbage patch."
How is Simon planning to help people who want to recycle, but can’t, because they live in apartments, and cities in Cuyahoga County only provide recycling containers to private homes. What is she doing about the public recycling containers that were removed buy the city of Cleveland, because people polluted them with trash? The offenders were not stopped, and the people who want to recycle, can’t.
Why doesn’t the County take over this problem, and provide at least a few locations where people can recycle their plastic milk jugs, plastic water bottles, and plastic pop bottles?
Where can residents in Cuyahga County recycle? Where can people who have lots of plastic bottles take them?
Why doesn’t the County provide a pick-up service? If they did, I would sign up immediately, because I want to also recycle my glass, cardboard, metal food cans, aluminum cans, mail, magazines, newspapers, and plastic bottles: milk jugs, orange juice bottles, pop bottles, yogurt cups, ketchup bottles, and mustard bottles!
Why doesn't the County provide at least a few localities to recycle plastic, even if it is only once a month? Why can't fire stations or churches or community centers have a plastic collection day!
Why aren't there any places where residents can recycle their plastic bottles that they use at home?
Stop the bag fee, and provide places to recycle.
A solution to the plastic bag problem would be to have retailers use biodegradable plastic bags, and not for the County to make money from plastic bag sales!
Jeanne Coppola is a lifelong resident of the Collinwood neighborhood, and is interested in art and writing. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cleveland State University.