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CLEVELAND– Cuyahoga County council on Tuesday evening passed an ordinance banning one-time use of plastic bags in the county. 

The legislation, introduced by council members Sunny Simon and Dale Miller, would stop stores from  offering plastic bags to customers. Instead, retail establishments would have to provide either reusable or permitted paper bags.

“Part of what we’re going to do is launch a reusable giveaway so residents will have an opportunity to get free reusable bags through the county. We’re gonna have an educational opportunity so people can really learn about why this is happening,” said council woman Sunny Simon, who co-sponsored the ordinance.

Stores, including Heinen’s and Dave’s, are against it, saying they are concerned about how it will impact costs.

They also plan to work with businesses, “To make this seamless for them and to look at perhaps on paper some kind of charge that will enable them to recoup some of their costs and also help the environment,” Simon said.

According to the ordinance, the “disposable plastic bag” ban will apply to bags made from “either non-compostable plastic or compostable plastic provided by retail establishment to a customer at point of sale for the purpose of transporting purchased items.”

The ordinance includes a written warning for first offenses, followed by a $100 fine then a $500 fine for second and third offenses, respectively. The fines would be imposed against the retailers. It would be enforced by the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs.

The ban will take effect Jan. 1.

It will not include
1. a bag the customer brought with them
2. a newspaper bag
3. a bag provided by a pharmacist that contains a prescription drug
4. a bag used to package bulk item or to contain or wrap a perishable item such as meat, fish, produce, backed goods or flowers
5. a bag that a restaurant gives a customer to take prepared or leftover food or drink from the restaurant
6. a bag intended for use as a dry cleaning, garbage, or yard waste bag
7. pre-packaged bags used for the collection of pet waste
8. non-permitted paper bags or permitted paper bags
9. bags provided to the consumer for the purpose of transporting a partially consumed bottle of wine pursuant to Section 4301.62(E) of the Ohio Revised Code
10. a bag provided at curbside pickup or point of delivery

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