By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Shoppers at many businesses in Minneapolis won’t have to pay for paper or plastic anytime soon.

Friday morning, the city council voted against an ordinance that would have charged five cents for single-use, carryout bags at stores. Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon was part of a push to ban plastic bags at city retailers, but state lawmakers tossed out that idea in May.

On Friday morning, it wasn’t a ban Gordon was pushing for, but a fee on both paper but especially plastic.

“It’s burnt downtown where there is pollution that goes out of the stack and into the air over our city and people breathe that,” said Gordon.

But Gordon’s fellow council members bagged the idea, voting 10-2 to send it back to committee. Council President Barb Johnson says it’s wrong to ask retailers to impose a fee on themselves.

“It’s not right. It’s not fair. And it impacts communities that survive on a thin, thin margin- businesses in those communities,” said Johnson.

Small businesses in Minneapolis said the council voting down a paper and plastic fee is both good and bad. And for now, it keeps things on a level playing field.

“I know we need to do something about all the plastic we are using, but at the same time I think it needs to have a better solution rather than just trying it in one location. Let’s try it statewide,” said Russell Smith.

Smith is the store manager at Bergen’s Supervalu in south Minneapolis. He said with higher taxes, and higher minimum wage on the horizon, the city needs to be fair to family-run stores.

“You have to think on the store level and how it’s going to affect the stores as well. You want businesses to be able to survive and thrive,” said Smith.

The city council will revisit potential bans or fees on paper and plastic bags in the future.

Cam Gordon says several cities on the West coast have already passed similar ordinances.

John Lauritsen

Comments