BROOKLYN, Ohio – The City of Brooklyn is opting out of Cuyahoga County’s upcoming ban on plastic bags.
Brooklyn City Council passed an ordinance exempting retailers from the county ban, citing its authority under home rule.
The ordinance, which took effect Friday, also requires that stores larger than 30,000 square feet provide a disposable plastic bag collection bin and ensure that all bags collected are recycled.
“What I'm looking out for is the best interest of our residents, of our businesses,” said Brooklyn Council President Ron Van Kirk, who co-sponsored the ordinance.
Van Kirk said he feels cities should've been more involved in the county's proposal, which he said unfairly targets certain businesses. Several retailers have said costs will increase as a result of the county ban.
“They have their job to do, we have our job to do,” he said. “I just felt like this ban was not in the best interest for our city at this time. To me, it's more of a global problem than a local problem, and I don't know how this would be effective, at least for the City of Brooklyn.”
The countywide ban on plastic bag takes effect January 1. It exempts bags for several uses including delivery, produce, and dry cleaning.
“While we respect the city's decision, we also would've hoped for more, that this small change in behavior would go a long way,” said Cuyahoga County Councilperson Sunny Simon, who sponsored the county ban.
She said the county ordinance aims to keep plastic pollution out of Lake Erie.
“It's up to the individual communities to do what they need to do, but when they see the overwhelming support from our residents, we hope they listen to the residents to know that this is the right move to make,” Simon said.
A bill proposed in the Ohio House would combat plastic bag bans by preventing local governments from implementing bans or taxes on plastic bags.
Van Kirk – who supports home rule – said he thinks that state legislation goes too far.
Still, he said other Cuyahoga County communities are considering following Brooklyn’s lead. He said he plans to send a letter to other municipalities explaining the rationale behind the bag ban exemption.
“I applaud the county's effort, what they're attempting to do,” he said. “I just don't think that this is the right way of going about it.”