Cincinnati Council passed the Ordinance to Regulate Plastic and Paper Bags with a 7-1 vote beginning January 1, 2021.
There are many, many people and organizations who have worked for the last 8 years that helped get this ordinance passed. We commend Marie Kocoshis, Jeanne Nightingale, Mary Gerson, Sally Dannemiller, Pete Cosco, Bob Gedert, Kevin Hengehold, Rich Jordan, Mary Aguilera, Peggy Berry, Anne Schoelwer, Deborah Jordan, Bill Cahalan, Jas Schenk, Janet Miller, Randi Pokladnik, Carol Cohn, Joshua Kruer, David Milender, Jehri Neri, Laura Lenarduzzi, Kathy Kugler, Nathan Alley, Nicole Wolcott, Cheryl Johncox, Cincinnati Past Plastic, League of Women Voters, The Women’s Club, and many, many more- for their hard work. We also want to note Council President Seelbach and his staff for being environmental champions of this legislation.
Numerous Cincinnati Council Members spoke very highly of the Sierra Club, Cincinnati Past Plastic, Marie Kocoshis, and Jeanne Nightingale for being a persistent force in getting this passed. It was great to hear so many decision makers speak about the environment, climate change, and the need for immediate action. A few quotes from the Council meeting are highlighted below:
I want to recognize the Sierra Club, we have one of the most dynamic, engaged, results-based Sierra Club’s in the country. Obviously, that is one of the reasons why we are here- it is because of how well organized, smart, and hard working the chapter is, so I want to recognize our Sierra Club. – Council Member Landsman
Human beings are the only animals on this planet with the capability to destroy it for everyone else. We have seen this with our water….We have problems with our air quality, that was not always the case. Human beings have found a way to pollute the air in such a way that we need to regulate emissions…..The bottom line for me is very simple, this Earth is speaking to us, it is not a whisper it is a yell. If we don’t pay attention…the Earth will cease to exist. It is steps like these that get people thinking about what else can be done…to secure the earth for all those that come behind us. This is far reaching legislation, I think it is wise legislation, it is worthy of support, and those who have to sacrifice to make it work- it is worthy of that sacrifice. -Council Member Young
Basics of the bag ordinance:
The ordinance goes into effect January 1, 2021, at which time restaurants and other businesses such as grocery stores that are classified as “food service establishments” may not distribute single-use plastic or non-recycled paper (minimum 40 percent post-consumer content) bags to customers. Beginning July 1, 2021, those businesses that distribute recycled paper and reusable bags will also be required to charge customers $0.05 for each bag; revenue from the bag charges will be retained by the businesses. Customers who participate in SNAP, WIC and other programs that use the EBT card will not have to pay the $0.05 charge. Any customers that bring their own bags of any type to a food service establishment or restaurant may use those bags to carry goods. Critically, the ordinance bans the “distribution” of single-use bags, not their “use.” The ordinance specifically allows customers to use their own bags of any type. Businesses will be required to file regular reports regarding their implementation of the ordinance.
Vote Role Count: 7-1
Christopher Smitherman YES
Greg Landsman YES
Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney YES
David Mann YES
Jeff Pastor Absent from vote
Chris Seelbach YES
P.G. Sittenfeld YES
Wendell Young YES
Betsy Sundermann NO