In a 6-1 vote May 29, Bexley City Council approved a ban on single-use plastic bags that is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler said Ordinance 14-19 is designed to protect the environment from plastics that are not biodegradable.

“It was discussed at length in a consensus-building process with a multitude of Bexley businesses, which included Giant Eagle Market District,” Kessler said of the legislation.

“Small, easy changes can make a big difference. We’ve gotten used to accepting pollution. We’ve gotten used to taking all those little plastic bags,” said Councilman Troy Markham, chairman of council’s service and environmental committee. “Just a change in state of mind and a little leadership from a community like Bexley can make a huge change.”

The ordinance bans plastic grocery and carryout bags at all businesses within Bexley city limits and at all city facilities and city-sponsored events beginning Jan. 1, 2020. A ban on beverage straws, stirrers, drink stoppers and cutlery will begin Jan. 1, 2021.

The ban on single-use plastics extends to educational institutions on Jan. 1, 2021, while allowing an exception for plastic straws for those with special needs upon request. Mobile-business vendors are exempt from the ban on single-use plastics.

Markham, council President Lori Ann Feibel and members Mary Gottesman, Steve Keyes, Monique Lampke and Tim Madison voted for the ordinance.

Councilman Richard Sharp, who cast the dissenting vote, said he supports environmental conservation but would rather see the city Bexley educate and encourage businesses, organizations and residents to avoid single-use plastics of their own accord.

“I think Bexley would stand out if we were a community that got corporate interests to voluntarily, without government regulation,” reject single-use plastics, he said. “I think support the concept, I just don’t support the mechanism.”