Plastic bag ban not needed in Iowa City, recycling coordinator says

Use of tote bags, plentiful recycling options make a ban unnecessary

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Iowa City does not need to ban the use of plastic grocery bags, according to the city’s recycling coordinator.

City officials are approached by people and community groups every couple of years about the issue, but with the use of tote bags in Iowa City and plentiful recycling options, a ban is not necessary, Jen Jordan, the city’s recycling coordinator, wrote in a memorandum released Thursday.

The City Council discussed the issue in 2008 after council member Connie Champion suggested banning plastic grocery bags, but in early 2009 the council decided instead to support an educational campaign encouraging reduced use of the bags.

Hundreds of reusable tote bags have been given out since then and most recycling advertising has included a section on plastic bags, Jordan wrote. She recommended continuing those and other efforts.

Plastic bag bans are in the national spotlight right now. A judge on Wednesday upheld the expansion of a San Francisco ban. The city of Santa Cruz, Calif., has been sued over its ban, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Boulder, Colo., is considering requiring shoppers to pay a 20-cent fee for plastic and paper grocery bags, the Boulder Camera reported.

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