Richmond Promotes Promotional Tote Bags by Banning Plastic Bags
July 1, 2013 by
Richmond, Virginia, is banning plastic bags. It is the first city to take this step in the whole of Contra Costa County. The proposal was sanctioned by a divided Council. The ordinance shall come into effect from next year onwards. Richmond’s councilmen seemed proud about their decision. They take pride in having to pass an ordinance so unique and unconventional. The ban also requires people to pay five cents for a paper bag. This rule shall be applicable only for a couple of months though. This is just to make customers remember to carry promotional tote bags with them.
Richmond’s Legendary Laws for Banning Plastic Bags
Richmond is known for having an open minded set of councilmen. Few years ago, they approved a law that asked for a hike in the number of marijuana dispensaries per capita as compared to other cities in the East Bay. It was also the pioneer in issuing municipal ID cards for the residents. In addition, Richmond also levied the millionaire’s tax – being the first in the States to do so. It was also the first city to levy taxes on sugared drinks.
Opposition Against Promotional Tote Bags
Some councilmen were against this proposal as it meant a great deal of expense for low income groups, or regular wage workers. Some also suggested the exclusion of senior citizens from paying five cents per paper bag, as they are more likely to forget to carry reusable bags. Richmond was next in line after LA to place a ban on plastic. Many cities in the Bay area have placed such bans, such as San Jose, San Francisco, and Alameda County.
What the Ban Specifies
A penalty of 250 dollars shall be levied on merchants who violate this rule. A sustainability worker, Jennifer Ly, stated that the city has already provided over 5000 promotional tote bags to the residents in the past years to make the transformation easier for them. They hope to spread about 12000 more reusable bags, sponsored by grants and other means. A similar ban had been sanctioned on plastic utensils in 2010, which was barely adhered to by merchants. Tobacco merchants are not pleased with this ban either, as their customers often ask for plastic bags. According to city reporters, the new law is applicable in drug stores, marketplaces, and liquor stores among a few. More cities are also planning to follow suit in a few months.