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Washtenaw County Approves Carry-Out Bag Fee For Local Businesses

Plastic Bags
Day Donaldson

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners has approved an ordinance that will impose a fee for customers who request bags at some local stores. 

It will cost you ten cents per plastic or paper bag at the checkout lines.  The board hopes the new measure, that goes into effect next April, will motivate shoppers to use reusable bags to protect the environment.  The county says too many plastic bags are getting caught in the equipment at recycling facilities, which is creating an extra cost to repair them.  

20% of what's received from the bag fee will go back to the business to help it continue enforcing the ordinance, the rest will go to the county's solid waste management division.  But commissioner YousefRabhi says the ordinance will only apply to retail grocers.

"Basically, an institution that sells food which is consumed off premises so that doesn't include restaurants."

But if approved, a current bill at the state level could prevent local governments from enforcing such regulations.

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— Jorge Avellan is the Ann Arbor beat reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News.  Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him

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