Cincinnati City Council: It’s Time to Move Past Single-Use Plastics!

Cincinnati City Council: It’s Time to Move Past Single-Use Plastics!

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Kevin Hengehold started this petition to Cincinnati City Council and

Single-use plastic bags pose a serious threat to our environment. I am tired of seeing plastic litter in our streets, in our rivers and in our streams. I am worried about the proliferating tons of plastic waste in the landfill and in the sewers. It jams up recycling facilities, costing valuable time and money. We are learning that plastic bags can take over 1,000 years to degrade, and as they degrade, they enter the food system as microplastics which seriously threaten the health of humans and wildlife.

We are finding that plastic bag recycling programs are woefully ineffective. According to Waste Management, only 1% of plastic bags are returned for recycling, and we Americans throw away up to 100 billion plastic bags each year.  

Did you know that In Ohio, we are actually running out of landfill space? The Ohio EPA Solid Waste Management Council says that our state has less than 36 years of available disposal capacity left. And it costs millions of tax-payer dollars to pick up plastic litter. ODOT spent $40 million in the last ten years cleaning up trash, waste, and debris along the roads. Many more millions are spent addressing sewer back-ups and combined sewer overflows. (Over $13 million In 2018.) 

Fortunately, we have found a solution to this problem: a ban on single-use plastic bags and a five cent fee on paper and multi-use plastic bags.  Some city council members have already taken up this cause, for which I am extremely grateful. To the rest of you, I ask that you look at the results of other municipalities' ordinances. They have been astounding! Eight states and over 300 municipalities in the U.S.have already done it. California saw a 28-million-pound decrease in plastic bag waste following its ban. Seattle saw a 50% decrease of plastic bags in residential garbage even though its population increased by 10%. San Jose reduced its plastic bag pollution in storm drains by 89% and reduced downtime in municipal solid waste operations by up to 50%. Alameda County’s ban on thin plastic bags led to an 80% decline in their use and a 44% decrease in plastic bags found in county storm drains.

People worry about the financial impact on low-income customers, but a study of Los Angeles’ bag ban found that the impact to residents was less than $4 per year ( $0.33 per month). Moreover, Los Angeles’ fee on paper and multi-use bags is $0.10, twice what ours will be. Some claim that this will hurt business, but when Boulder, Colorado implemented a modest fee on plastic bags, they saw record low unemployment, median wages well above the national average, and record low retail vacancy rates.

It's time for Cincinnati to move past single-use plastic!  Please sign on to ask Cincinnati City Council to pass a ban on single-use plastic bags and a fee on paper and multi-use plastic bags.

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