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Tucson hopes to cut down on bag litter

The Tucson City Council has passed an ordinance aimed at reducing the city’s reliance on plastic shopping bags. 

Tucson Councilman Paul Cunningham is the plan’s sponsor. After hearing residents complain about plastic bag litter, he put together a working group. It looked at different ideas to reduce plastic use and waste, like per-bag surcharges at the grocery store. But they settled on the ordinance that passed this week as a first step.

Supermarkets will start counting the number of bags they give out to customers. The ordinance will also promote store incentives for shoppers to bring their own bags. Cunningham calls the plan: “…both locally ecologically responsible and globally ecologically responsible. And it’s a situation where business stakeholders and environmental stakeholders came together, collaborated, and got a good, common sense ordinance in place.”

Cunningham hopes to reduce the use of plastic bags by half before the end of the decade. He thinks this ordinance will help the city decide what to do next.