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Duluth following Minneapolis in bringing back 5-cent bag charge

The city originally planned to start charging for plastic bags last year, but put off the ordinance due to the pandemic.
Plastic bag

The City of Duluth will begin charging 5 cents for most plastic bags at stores next month after putting off the ordinance due to the pandemic.

Starting on Oct. 15, retailers in Duluth will begin adding 5 cents to the total bill for each plastic bag that is included in a purchase. The fee was originally supposed to go into place in April of 2020, but it was halted due to concerns over the economic impact of COVID-19.

The City agreed to start implementing the fee 90 days after the state’s emergency order was lifted. Gov. Tim Walz lifted the state of emergency in July.

The Duluth City Council first voted for the fee in the fall of 2019.

“The City Council found that single use carryout bags pollute city waterways and sewers, endanger wildlife, contributing to climate change, and cause unsightly litter,” an announcement from the city reads.

Duluth’s bag fee does not apply to bags without handles used to transport food within the store or to keep it from coming into contact with other food. It will also not apply to bags used to transport prescription drugs or takeout food meant to be consumed outside the establishment.

Paper bags are not included in the ordinance.

In Minneapolis, officials are also bringing back the city’s bag fee – which unlike Duluth's includes paper bags – after it was put on hold due to the pandemic. That ordinance first went into effect in January of 2020 before it was put on hold a few months at the beginning of the pandemic.

It will take effect again on Friday. 

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