CLEVELAND — The Cuyahoga County Council introduced legislation calling for the banning of disposable plastic bags at Tuesday's meeting. 

The measure is being co-sponsored by Dale Miller and Sunny Simon and is targeting the plastic bags that are provided by retail stores. Instead, stores would encourage customers to bring their own reusable bags when shopping.

"These bags wind up in the waterways in the lake or the wind up in the landfills where they sit for 500 to 1,000 years potentially contaminating the land," says Simon.

"This is so vital to our future generation and to our human health it's essential that we do something now."

According to the legislation, discarded disposable bags "are a major source of litter, pollute our open spaces, harm and kill wildlife, clog storm drains resulting in localized flooding, end up as debris in our neighborhoods and waterways, and contributes to blight."

Punishment for stores that violate the ban ranges from a written warning for the first violation, a civil fine of up to $100 for a second violation, and a civil fine of up to $500 for each subsequent violation. Enforcement would be handled by the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs. 

A 'Disposable Plastic Bag' does not include:

  • Bags customers would bring to stores
  • A newspaper bag
  • A bag provided by a pharmacist that contains a prescription drug
  • A bag used to package a bulk item or to contain or wrap a perishable item such as meat, fish, produce, baked goods, or flowers
  • A bag that a restaurant gives a customer to take prepared or leftover food or drink from the restaurant
  • A bag intended for use as a dry cleaning, garbage, or yard waste bag
  • Pre-packaged bags used for the collection of pet waste
  • Bags provided to the consumer for the purpose of transporting a partially consumed bottle of wine
  • A bag provided at curbside pickup or point of delivery. 

WATCH | You can see the Cuyahoga County Council's meeting from WKYC's Facebook Live in the player below: