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Minneapolis Businesses Prepare For Plastic Bag Ban

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Your days of shopping with plastic bags could be numbered in the state's largest city.

A ban on many plastic bags goes into effect in Minneapolis on June 1.

Fans of the law want shoppers to switch to reusable bags to get the city closer to zero waste.

Clare Kennedy works and shops in downtown Minneapolis. Every time she leaves Target on Nicollet Mall, she's leaving with groceries and plastic.

"There's no easy way to get rid of them, really," Kennedy said. "I'm in support of [the ban]. I've actually always hated the Target bags and how much plastic film they produce."

Plastic Bag Ban
(credit: CBS)

Target is one business that's preparing its customers for life after plastic bags. They're offering a 5-cent discount for each reusable bag you bring in and use to shop. Subway has also made an early change, replacing plastic sandwich bags with paper ones.

"Getting stuck in the drain systems, getting in the water ways. Actually I get pictures sent to me of the bags that get stuck up in trees because they blow around," said City Councilmember Cam Gordon.

He co-authored the ordinance last year and was a big reason it passed. But even though the ban is just weeks away, Gordon is worried it will never happen.

"They have passed a law that's passed both the House and the Senate that would preempt that, and say cities no longer have control over regulating this kind of thing," Gordon said.

While he waits to see how lawmakers in St. Paul impact an ordinance in Minneapolis, Gordon said if the ban is allowed to go forward, the first year would be more about education than enforcement.

"We're not going to go out with a heavy hand at first at all. We're going to go out with technical assistance, inform people about the law, talk about how soon that they can get to be compliant," Gordon said.

Target and other businesses will charge a 5-cent fee for customers who choose to use paper bags after June 1.

Some exceptions to the plastic ban in Minneapolis would include plastic to wrap produce, baked goods and takeout food.

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