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Plan to charge you extra for plastic bags moves forward in Minneapolis

The fee could kick in next year.

It looks like plastic bags are here to stay in Minneapolis, but using them at the checkout line could come with a cost pretty soon.

A Minneapolis City Council committee on Monday gave preliminary approval to the "Bring Your Own Bag" ordinance, which would tack a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper bags. 

It's a far cry from the outright ban the city passed last year. The bags were supposed to be gone by June, but the ordinance was basically nullified by a new state law before that could happen (more on that situation can be found here). 

Like the original plan, the added fee is aimed at cutting down on waste, as well as problems at local recycling plants (where plastic bags can get caught up in the machinery and cause major problems).

At the Monday council meeting, the Star Tribune reports, an official from a local recycling plant said "this ordinance will help us collectively kick our habit of relying on supposedly free disposable bags, and encourage bringing reusable bags to grocery and retail stores."

The fine print 

There would be some exceptions to the new rule, however. 

Bags without handles that are used to carry bulk items (like fruits and vegetables) would be exempt from the fee, as would any "carry out" bags used at restaurants. 

Other exemptions include packages of dog poop bags, dry cleaning bags, and any situation where there isn't an actual transaction taking place (like at a food bank). And people who use food assistance programs like WIC wouldn't have to pay the fee. 

The city council will vote on the new ordinance on Aug. 18. If it passes, the law would kick in next year. 

In the meantime, if you want some tips on how to dispose of all those plastic bags stuffed in your kitchen drawers, click here.

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