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The Baltimore Sun reports that considerable debate is taking place in the city of Annapolis, Maryland, over a proposal that would ban plastic shopping bags and require retailers to provide recyclable paper bags or reusable bags. The goal of the bill is environmental, though opponents say the proposal is misguided.

"We are not the bad guys. We love the environment," Bruce C. Bereano, a lobbyist for Safeway, tells the Sun. "Recycling is the answer, and enforcement of litter laws and education - not a ban. This proposal makes no sense."

In addition to Safeway, Giant Food, the Maryland Restaurant Association and the Maryland Retailers Association are all opposing the legislation.

However, the Sun suggests that the tide may be working against the bill opponents:

“Nationally, a handful of other municipalities are considering sacking plastic bags, including Boston, Santa Cruz, Calif., and Portland, Ore.,” the Sun reports. “San Francisco passed a ban on certain types of plastic bags for large merchants this spring. A Baltimore bill, submitted last month by City Councilman James B. Kraft, would ban non-biodegradable bags in grocery stores and pharmacies - but not other retailers. Some large retailers are also joining the movement against plastic bags.

In March, IKEA launched the "Bag the Plastic Bag" campaign, and began charging customers 5 cents for every plastic bag and encouraging the use of reusable bags. Whole Foods in Annapolis stopped providing plastic bags two weeks ago and now relies solely on paper and reusable bags.”
KC's View:
I’m not sure this issue is there yet, but there is a sense that the “ban plastic bags” movement is gaining momentum. The question that retailers have to ask themselves is at what point is simply makes sense to stop fighting the tide and embrace the alternative solutions.

At any rate, they have to be careful not to be seen as fighting a battle that already has been lost…and while I’m not sure the issue is there yet, that day could be coming.