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Iowa City council to revisit ban on plastic shopping bags

This news story was published on December 2, 2012.
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Gregg Hennigan, CR Gazette –

The City Council will discuss next week whether plastic grocery bags should be banned in Iowa City.

City staff twice this fall has recommended against outlawing the bags, but council members will weigh in at a work session Dec. 4.

City officials say several groups have approached the city in recent years seeking a ban on plastic bags for environmental reasons. The latest is 100 Grannies for a Livable Future, a community organization made up primarily of older women interested in environmental issues.

In September and again in October, Iowa City’s recycling coordinator said a plastic bag ban was not necessary in Iowa City. Jen Jordan said the promotion of tote bags, plentiful recycling options and educational campaigns have served Iowa City well and the focus should be on continuing those efforts.

The City Council discussed the issue a few years ago and decided against moving forward with a ban. Five of the seven current council members are new since then.

Rick Fosse, Iowa City’s public works director, said Tuesday’s meeting will give council members an opportunity to talk about the matter. City staff’s recommendation remains the same, with Fosse saying if a ban were to be considered it should be pursued on a regional basis so that customers aren’t confused when shopping in different cities and Iowa City businesses aren’t at a disadvantage.

Communities nationwide and internationally have prohibited plastic bags or charged a fee for their use. Some of those U.S. policies have been challenged in court.

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