Baltimore County Considering Plastic Bag Ban

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BALTIMORE COUNTY - The Baltimore County Council is considering banning retailers and food supply stores from using plastic bags for consumers’ goods.

The “Bring Your Own Bag Act” was introduced by councilmembers Izzy Patoka, Mike Ertel, and David Marks at a council meeting on Tuesday night. The bill would completely ban plastic bags for carry-out meals and require retailers in Baltimore County to charge 10 cents for each paper or reusable bag issued at checkout, starting Nov. 1, 2023.

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

If the bill passes, it would make Baltimore County the second largest jurisdiction in Maryland to ban plastic bags, behind only Montgomery County. Baltimore City also passed a similar measure that went into effect in 2021. Banning bags is not new to Baltimore County; Wegmans grocery stores have already begun charging for bags in Baltimore and Harford Counties.

The Maryland General Assembly considered a statewide ban last year, but the measure did not pass.

Many county representatives cited environmental protection as the main reason for the bill. According to the Greater Baltimore Group Sierra Club, Baltimore County residents use over 300 million plastic bags every year, or about 352 bags per person, per year.

County Executive Johnny Olszewski released a statement citing his support for the bill.

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Councilman Izzy Patoka also stated his support for a bag ban.

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A work session on the bill will be held at 4 p.m. on Jan. 10, and a final vote is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 17.

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I see Johnny and the gang addressing the big issues of the county. He’s such a weak ‘leader’ - scared to address the real issues of the county. We don’t want to hurt feelings of anybody.

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So we pay for garbage collection and recycling. Now we pay for both plastic and paper bags. What do I put my trash into for pick up. Just throw it into the can unwrapped??? I can see the plastic ban but NOT paper bags.... What about all of the plastic that industry uses to wrap pallets, etc. and products that are wrapped, sealed and double wrapped? Are we going to be charged for using reusable food bags? And are the grocery stores going to bag them if they are now being allowed? I bought a couple dozen of them over the years but now the stores will not bag them. 

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