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Baltimore County

Baltimore County lawmakers introduce measure to ban plastic bag sales

Baltimore County could soon follow Baltimore City in banning stores’ use of plastic bags if lawmakers approve new legislation aimed at getting shoppers to cut down on their use of plastic to carry their purchases.

Councilmembers Izzy Patoka of Pikesville and Mike Ertel of Towson, both Democrats, as well as Republican David Marks of Perry Hall, introduced a bill at Tuesday night’s County Council meeting that would bar retailers and food supply stores from using plastic bags for consumers’ goods.

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The Bring Your Own Bag Act is intended to incentivize people to bring bags to grocery stores and cut down on the amount of trash generated by county residents, Ertel said.

The bill would require retailers to levy a 10-cent charge on each paper or reusable bag issued at checkout, starting Nov. 1.

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County residents use some 300 million plastic bags a year for an average of 15 minutes before they throw them away, where they often end up in landfills or clogging sewer systems, according to Deborah Kleinmann of the Greater Baltimore Group Sierra Club, which supports the bill.

“We think that this could be a real win-win situation for the environment in Baltimore County and for the retailers, as well,” Kleinmann said.

Marks, who represents District 5, noted that his area includes waterfront districts, and that he “voted for the environment” in co-sponsoring the legislation.

County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., a Democrat, voiced support for the bill, commending it in a statement Tuesday night as a “bipartisan effort” to protect the county’s “trees, waterways, and neighborhoods.”

The 10-cent tax would not apply to people who are on federal assistance, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to a copy of the bill.

The city of Baltimore implemented a similar rule last year, nearly 15 years after it was first introduced. The law levies a 5-cent charge per bag provided by a retailer.

For the record

An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled Deborah Kleinmann's name. The Sun regrets the error.


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