Local Elected Officials To Discuss Banning Plastic Bags

It will take place at a Wednesday meeting in Frederick.


Frederick, Md (KM). A number of communities have imposed taxes or fees on the use of plastic bags, but Frederick City and the County are looking at an outright ban. The idea comes from County Councilman Kai Hagen. “We’re not necessarily only talking about plastic bags. There are a variety of single use plastic items that have raised increasing concerns for a variety of reasons,” he says. “I think the broader discussion about how we want to best approach that will not necessarily be limited to just bags.”

The County Council and the Frederick Board of Aldermen will be discussing this issue on Wednesday at 7:00 PM in the third floor meeting room at Winchester Hall.

“These bans are happening in various forms all over the world right now, and all over the country,” says Hagen. “This is an inevitable process and we can decide to be part of trying to work toward solutions, or just drag along later when it’s inevitable.”

When they’re discarded, Hagen says plastic bags do not break down over time. “Plastic bags do not bio-degrade. So they’re bio-accumulating in our environment, in our food chain, in our bodies. And the growing concern about the impacts on our health and impact on the environment,” he says.

And, Hagen says, plastic bags and other single-use plastic products produce micro-plastics which break down into smaller pieces. “But they don’t break down altogether. They get into the food chain, into us, everything. That’s certainly not true of a non-fossil fuel-based biodegradable alternative, whether it’s made out of paper or cornstarch,:” he says.

He points there are alternatives to plastic bags and other single-use plastic products, such as straws, silverware or cups. “Bags that are made of cornstarch, or straws that are made out other items, including paper ones,” says Hagen.

There is no formal ordinance drawn up to ban plastic bags, and elected officials will not make any decision on this issue on Wednesday. But Hagen hopes a work group will be formed to study this issue. “Which could include people who are not necessarily in favor of a ban or a fee or even anything,:”: he says. “But to get a broad variety of perspectives as we gather information about the issue, and some of the options, what’s working well and not working well in other places. That if they would like to make suggestions about how that could be done, or participate in that process, they can.”

Hagen says he would not be in favor of a tax or fee on plastic bags. “Fees are more complicated, more expensive to administer, have other issues,” he said. “Frankly, I don’t want this to be seen as a way for the county to try to add revenues. The fees are not only more complicated, they are less efficient and effective.”


By Kevin McManus