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Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect Across Cuyahoga County

Stores violating the ban will be subject to penalty. [Andrew Meyer / WKSU]
A checkout lane at Giant Eagle informing customers that plastic bags will be removed Jan. 1

Shoppers in Cuyahoga County will need to find an alternative to single-use plastic bags, as some stores have already removed the option.

The county’s bag ban goes into effect this week.

Though businesses won’t be fined for providing plastic bags for the first six months, many stores have already started pushing their customers toward alternatives.

Giant Eagle removed all plastic bags from stores in participating cities as of Jan. 1, said spokesperson Jannah Jablonowski. The store will provide bonuses for customers with membership cards who bring their own reusable bags, she said, and paper bags are available for 10 cents each.

“This is really asking customers to change their habits pretty dramatically if bringing reusable bags isn’t already one of their habits,” Jablonowski said.

The decision to charge for paper bags is up to each retailer.

The ordinance is intended to reduce plastic litter in the waterways, protect wildlife and keep storm drains clear of obstructions. Stores violating the ban will be subject to penalty, including a $100 fine after a warning and $500 fine for subsequent infractions.

The county ban technically went into effect Wednesday, but no fines will be issued for the first six months. The City of Cleveland decided to delay adoption of Cuyahoga County’s ban on retail plastic bags until July 1.

The county’s ban could be challenged by a bill in the state Senate that would prohibit local governments from applying taxes or fees to the sale of single-use plastic bags and other containers.