Kansas City suburb studying plastic bag ban
Prairie Village ? The Kansas City suburb of Prairie Village is considering reducing the use of plastic grocery bags by imposing a ban or fining shoppers who continue to use them.
The process has just begun and supporters acknowledge the effort could fail, as similar ones did in Roeland Park and Garden City. But Columbia, Missouri, currently is discussing an ordinance that would prohibit any business that sells perishable food from providing the bags.
If the proposal succeeds, Prairie Village would be the first city in Kansas or Missouri to enact restrictions on plastic bags, which some consider harmful to the environment, The Kansas City Star reported. Prairie Village would join several U.S. cities, such as Seattle, that have enacted the bans; Chicago and the state of California will have different versions starting in 2015.
Ben Claypool, chairman of a citizens committee studying the issue in Prairie Village, said he is hearing a lot of support for encouraging the use of reusable canvas bags. But the committee has just begun setting up appointments with retailers to discuss the proposal and is likely to hear opposition.
Jon McCormick, president of the Retail Grocers Association of Greater Kansas City, said more important environmental issues should take precedence over plastic bags.
A lack of support also emerged when Kansas City political consultant Marcus Leach began making plans this year for a possible citywide vote on enacting a 5-cent charge for each disposable bag. Only about 40 percent of those polled said they supported the idea.
“Unfortunately, the polling came back and said Kansas City is not ready for it yet,” Leach said.
Columbia began considering its proposal earlier this year.
“I want to say the chances of it passing are really good,” said Jan Dye, chairwoman of the local Sierra Club, which initiated the proposal. “But I’m just not sure.”
Opposition has already arisen. The president of the Missouri Retailers Association said in an opinion piece published in The Columbia Tribune last week that a ban would limit consumer choices, be a burden on business and not help the environment much.
“Their carbon footprint is lower than other bags,” David Overfelt said, adding, “they require less water to make and those that do end up in landfills have often been reused as waste bags and take up significantly less space than other bag options.”