Bexley’s ban on plastic bags shifted to Jan. 1 start

Chris Bournea
ThisWeek
City of Bexley

The city of Bexley officially has postponed its ban on plastic bags until January 2021 – a year after it initially started.  

The city also removed a provision from the legislation that enabled businesses to charge customers for paper bags and other alternatives to plastic bags, bringing city law in line with one that the Ohio General Assembly passed in October. 

Bexley City Council voted 7-0 Nov. 17 to approve Ordinance 49-20, bans plastic grocery and carryout bags at all businesses within city limits and at all city facilities and city-sponsored events beginning Jan. 1, 2021. 

The legislation updates Ordinance 14-19, passed in May 2019. It established a similar ban on plastic bags that went into effect in January 2020. The city suspended the ban in the spring in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, amid concerns that if customers brought in their own bags when shopping, it could spread the virus, council member Troy Markham said. 

Markham, who introduced both ordinances, said he saw a decrease in in the number of discarded plastic bags earlier this year when the ban was in effect. After the city suspended the ban, he said he noticed that plastic bags began to proliferate again. 

“When I did my cleanups in the summer and the beginning of fall … (there were) just so many single-use plastic bags littered throughout the community,” he said. 

Ordinance 49-20 allows customers to use their own bags and also allows plastic bags to be used for meat and produce. The ordinance removed a provision from earlier legislation that allowed businesses to charge customers for paper bags to replace plastic bags. 

In October, Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 242 into law, which prohibits local governments from imposing a tax or fee associated with plastic bags.  

“Now that the state has enacted their law, we are introducing (Ordinance 49-20) so that it complies with the new state law,” Markham said. “We’re pleased to get back on track with removing this ubiquitous, toxic material from the environment.” 

Ordinance 49-20 also prohibits the use of plastic beverage straws, stirrers, drink stoppers and cutlery in Bexley beginning Jan. 1, 2022. Violations will be classified as a misdemeanor and carry a fine of up to $100. 

The ordinance also allots $2,500 from the city’s Refuse Fund to provide grants to businesses to assist with costs associated with complying with the ban on plastic bags. 

Mayor Ben Kessler said the city already had the ability to distribute money from the Refuse Fund to assist local businesses before council passed Ordinance 49-20.  

“The intent with putting it in the ordinance was to make sure that it was extra clear in the desire to have a grant like this,” Kessler said. “I think it’s helpful to have council approval of a concept like this.”

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