Duluth Retailers are Now Charging for Bags

DULUTH, Minn.- Starting today, retail stores in Duluth will begin charging shoppers five cents for each plastic bag needed for their purchase.

To improve the city’s environmental waste, the Duluth City Council passed the ordinance to be effective April 1st of last year but is only now going into effect due to the pandemic.

The Duluth City Council decided after an increased number of plastic bags are flooding city streets and waterways.

“Every business within the city of Duluth would need to charge a five-cent fee on plastic bags,” said Duluth Public Information Officer. “Paper bags are not a part of this; however, we know that there are some businesses that are paying just her bag uses, and this was something that was driven by the council and really by residents in Duluth.”

The city enforced fee may only apply to plastic bags, but some retailers like Mount Royal grocery store charge five cents for both paper and plastic.

The local grocery store is encouraging shoppers to bring in reusable bags to reduce waste in the Northland.

Food, clothing, and home suppliers are among the retailers included in the ordinance.

However, users of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Women Infants and Children program are exempt from the fee when buying groceries.

“What we’re doing is we’re charging for both the paper and the plastic because the paper bags are almost three times more expensive than the plastic bag,” said Mount Royal General Manager Steve Schadewald. “So if we just charged for the plastic bag, everybody would be using the paper bag, and our paper bag expenses would go pretty much through the ceiling.”

The five-cent fee will go directly to the retailer to fund the supply of bags. Check out the City of Duluth website to see a complete list of bags excluded from the fee.

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