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Minneapolis City Council Approves 5-Cent Plastic & Paper Bag Fee

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis is taking a step to reduce littering and to protect resources. The Minneapolis City Council has voted to approve what's being referred to as the "bring your own bag" ordinance, meaning stores will charge a 5-cent fee for paper or plastic bags. 

Seven states currently have plastic bag laws. 

The move will affect everyone that shops in the city. Customers are encouraged to bring their own bag to retail stores. It'll cost you 5 cents per bag if you don't.

Across Minneapolis and in downtown, people shop and carry plastic and paper bags. Stores will still have them but at the beginning of the year, customers will pay 5 cents to use them.

"I think we really have to be conscious about the environment and this is a really good ordinance," Maria Mitchell said.

The city council passed the new ordinance Friday morning. It took the step in an effort to reduce waste and litter, protect resources and to encourage shoppers to bring their own bag.

"I'm all for that," Jake Gardener said.

"I'll do what I do now which is use recyclable bags whenever I remember, kind of get mad at myself whenever I don't," Matt Grace said.

People can report businesses that don't comply, but there will be a 6 month grace period before a retailer is fined.

Some think it will take time, but believe bringing a recyclable bag will eventually become the norm.

"It's hard to change patterns, right. But once you understand the reasoning behind it and we've come a few times, forgot a bag, pay extra for a bag, then you start to remember, right? And it becomes a culture," Charles Dennis said.

There are exceptions: bags used for produce, bulk foods, small items, carryout restaurants, farmers markets, food banks, retail establishments that do not possess a cash register; secondhand bags, bags sold in packages, dry cleaning bags, bags given out with no transaction; bags given at hospitals, car dealerships and car washes; and bags used for litter cleanup

The change starts on January 1st.

The 5-cent fee will go to the retailer to cover the cost of manufacturing the bag and disposing of them.

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