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'No one called us for our input' — North Olmsted considers putting plastic bag ban on hold

Posted at 4:43 PM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 18:11:42-05

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — North Olmsted may soon be the latest city to put Cuyahoga County’s plastic bag ban on hold.

City council members are expected to discuss opting out of the countywide ban at a meeting this Tuesday, before voting the following Tuesday.

Mayor Kevin Kennedy said the city wants more time to look into the issue and obtain the necessary information before banning plastic bags.

“No one called us for our input before our legislation was put into place,” Kennedy said. “I have not gotten a call from one retailer here in North Olmsted asking about it. I just don’t think they know.”

Kennedy said the city wants to do what’s best for the environment but would like to see a full study on what’s best: “paper bags, plastic bags, recycled plastic bags.”

The ordinance that council is considering, Kennedy said, is a way of exercising home rule authority and taking local control.

“I wouldn’t know how they’d even enforce this ban with none of our retailers even taking notice of it,” Kennedy said. “So it’s just our way of taking a little bit of a pause and saying, ‘What’s best for our city, what’s best for our environment and how do we want to enact this?’”

The ordinance would also require big box stores to have boxes to recycle plastic bags at their locations.

“That’s something that the big box stores should be doing anyway. We should be recycling plastic bags,” Kennedy said. “I know when I go shopping, we reuse those plastic bags many times, and I know many of our residents do, too.”

plastic bag ban

Giant Eagle, which has a store in North Olmsted, wrote in a statement:

“Giant Eagle is committed to being a contributing member of the communities we serve, and a leader in sustainability. Today, Giant Eagle recycles more than three million pounds of plastic film annually, but we recognize that more must be done to protect our planet. We applaud the County’s efforts to ensure a better tomorrow with its comprehensive legislation on single-use plastics. We also have a great deal of respect for the authority of local municipalities. Our intent is to abide by the County’s legislation in every region where the local municipality is supportive.”

Bag ban in Orange

As cities like North Olmsted continue debating what to do about banning plastic bags, the village of Orange has already had a ban on plastic bags for several months now. Shoppers there can use paper bags or reusable ones instead.

plastic bag ban
PHOTO: A shopper loads paper bags into her trunk in Orange.

Shoppers in Orange on Tuesday said they were supportive of the village’s ban.

“I don’t mind it,” said Livia Kay, a shopper from North Royalton. “I like the reusable bags, or I just use the paper bags which I use for other things, like at home I put all my recyclables in it.”

Kay said there was no real concern about cost for her, since reusable bags often only cost a dollar or two.

Margaret Healey of Orange said she sometimes would just use her hands to carry items or would go back to her car to retrieve reusable bags if she’d forgotten to bring them in.

“Use your hands, use your bags, no plastic,” Healey said.

Shopper Paola Rosa of Novelty said she thought everyone should try to avoid using plastic.

“I think we lived a million years without the plastic and we can live the rest of whatever God wants to give us,” said Rosa, who carried a paper bag and a reusable bag.