Eau Claire Council Passes 4-Phase Disposable Bag Reduction Plan

Five-Year Reduction Plan

Eau Claire, Wisconsin, March 5, 2014 (PBBR) - On February 11, 2014, at a regular meeting, the City Council of Eau Claire, Wisconsin accepted the report from the Sustainable Bag Committee. The Council then adopted a resolution based upon the Committee's findings and recommendations.

The Council's Resolution sets in motion a 4-Phase plan for reducing the use of plastic and paper bags at point-of-sale.

  1. Pre-Development
  2. Education
  3. Incentive
  4. Requirement

The overall goal of the five year plan is to reduce by 80% the use of disposable bags at checkout. The Disposable Bag Reduction Plan will apply to all retailers in the city including restaurants.

The Pre-Development Phase will run until January 1, 2015. At that time, the two-year Education Phase will begin. This phase is designed to encourage the use of reusable bags and also move the city towards more recycling of plastic bags and plastic film. The goal is a 45% reduction in the use of plastic bags.

If the reduction goal is not met, the Incentive Phase will be initiated. This phase will require merchants to give an in-store credit of five cents to customers who bring in and use a reusable bag. The Incentive Phase will run for one year and is intended to reduce plastic bag use by 65%.

If the Incentive Phase doesn't achieve the 65% reduction goal, then the Requirement Phase will begin. In the Requirement Phase, retailers will be required to charge a fee of ten cents for each disposable bag that a customer needs at checkout.

The City's Advisory Committee on Sustainability has been charged with overseeing the program.

In the years that I have been tracking plastic bag reduction efforts, I've not seen an 80% reduction achieved through education of citizens or volunteer efforts. Reduction must be mandated by laws - people will not voluntarily reduce their usage of plastic bags. S0 in 2018, I'll report to you about Eau Claire's ten cent disposable bag fee.

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