The Annapolis city council is scheduled to hear legislation next month that would outlaw common plastic bags at grocery stores, pharmacies, clothing shops and other retailers in hopes of reducing litter and protecting the environment.
"Banning plastic is the right way to go. We can live without plastic checkout bags," said the sponsor of the Annapolis ordinance, Alderman Samuel E. Shropshire.
In taking up the paper-versus-plastic question, Baltimore and Annapolis are joining a handful of cities questioning the wisdom of widespread use of the bags.
Supporters of the bans say that manufacturing plastic bags squanders nonrenewable resources such as natural gas and crude oil -- upward of 12 million barrels of oil each year. Add to that the nuisance of the bags blowing along roads or hanging from trees, and the danger they present to aquatic life when they end up in waterways.
Those in the pro-plastic camp contend that the bags are not only reusable and recyclable, but are a better environmental choice and require comparatively little space in landfills. And plastic bags are also much cheaper.
Under the proposed Annapolis ordinance, scheduled to be introduced July 9, all stores would have to issue recyclable paper bags, or customers would have to provide their own reusable bags. Retailers would face up to $500 in fines for issuing plastic bags.
Should the city give plastic bags the sack?
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