LYNDHURST, Ohio (WJW) -- Cuyahoga County's ban on single use plastic bags takes effect Wednesday.
While the ban won't be enforced – and retailers won’t face fines -- until July, most Giant Eagle stores in the county are getting rid of plastic bags at checkout on January 1.
Customers can bring or buy reusable bags or pay ten cents per paper bag.
“It is a big shift for both our customers and our company,” said Giant Eagle spokesperson Dan Donovan. “For Giant Eagle, it's about making reusable bags available for purchase and also incenting the use of reusable bags. We'll be giving one fuel perks perk per for every reusable bag used.”
Donovan said, for now, Giant Eagle will continue providing plastic bags at stores in Brooklyn, North Olmsted and Cleveland, which joined Independence in opting out of the county ban.
This month, Cleveland city council voted to opt out of the ban until at least July 1 to give a working group time to come up with ways to reduce plastic waste without hurting stores.
Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Sunny Simon sponsored the ban.
“It's essential that we take positive steps to protect our future generations from the blight of plastic pollution,” Simon said.
County council voted this month to delay enforcement until July 1 to give the county more time to ramp up consumer education efforts and to give retailers more time to prepare.
“Cuyahoga County has given a six-month grace period to retailers to be able to unload their inventory of plastic bags and ship it to other stores and get their customers ready, that this is coming,” Simon said.
A spokesperson for Target stores said in a statement that the company "complies with all local and state ordinances. Every store offers an alternative to plastic bags, including paper bags or reusable plastic bags for purchase. In an effort to promote the use of reusable bags and keep more plastic bags out of landfills, Target gives guests a five-cent discount for each reusable bag used at all of our stores.”
Shoppers were preparing to bring their own bags on shopping trips to malls in addition to grocery stores.
Meanwhile, proposed state legislation would prohibit local bag bans like the one taking effect in Cuyahoga County.
The Ohio House passed a bill this month that would preempt the bans, and it's now in the Senate.