Duluth City Councilors Propose Delay of Plastic Bag Fee

The bag fee was all set to go into effects on April 1, but now it could be delayed until July 1, or even later.

DULUTH, Minn. – Some Duluth City Councilors want to delay the city’s upcoming five-cent fee on plastic bags.

The bag fee was all set to go into effects on April 1, but now it could be delayed until July 1, or even later.

Some councilors want to push it back because of how busy grocery stores are during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councilor Joel Sipress introduced the resolution to the city council suggesting postponing the fee enactment until July 1.

The fee would cause the grocery stores to have even more on their plates while dealing with the national emergency.

“I was one of the strong supporters of implementing this fee on plastic bags in order to protect our water from plastic contamination but I think we all agree at this time we need to prioritize the public health emergency right now,” said Councilor Joel Sipress.

Friday, Councilors Derek Medved, Arik Forsman, and Renee Van Nett moved to amend the resolution and push the date back until January 1, 2021.

Councilor Medved says he is happy Councilor Sipress brought the resolution to the table but he believes there are bigger issues to deal with in the coming months.

“We just thought that it would be more appropriate to move it back to the first of the year and really give the retailers time to alleviate a lot of the pressure around this epidemic and make sure that we are all going to be ok financially and structurally,” said Councilor Medved.

Councilor Forsman who is in favor of the January 1 date said that there are other concerns being brought to the council about reusable bags.

“Also folks who are emailing the council right now with concerns about people that are bringing in any outside items to stores like grocery stores and that includes not just reusable bags but coffee mugs and anything else,” said Councilor Forsman.

The fees will be on the agenda at the next council meeting on Monday.

The President of the Minnesota Grocer’s Association, Jamie Pfuhl, told Fox 21 that she appreciates the councilors’ willingness to address the issue of bag fees and that trying to implement something like a fee would be difficult for store-level folks and customers.

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