Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Marshall County Plans to Ban Plastic Bags

I have been frustrated with how reactionary local government is here in Marshalltown and Marshall County. So lets just say that I was surprised to see this story in the Des Moines Register this morning.

Marshall County officials say they intend to pass a first-in-Iowa ordinance that mandates the use of only biodegradable bags for customer purchases in retail stores.

Merchants who violate the ordinance would faces fines of up to $500 for repeat offenses.

"We have hundreds of plastic bags that find their way into farm fields and bushes and trees," said county Supervisor Patrick Brooks, who got the idea from a public television documentary on fish in Africa that mysteriously died. Researchers found the fish had eaten small pieces of plastic.

"This is a major concern, these types of issues, and we're just now starting to address them," Brooks said.

The proposal has met early skepticism from retailers who worry about the added cost.

"I really don't see how they can force someone do that," said Stan Groth of Haley's Grocery in Marshalltown, a third-generation family business.

The ordinance would also prohibit paper bags that are not recyclable.
A lot of attention is put on national issues, but this shows what electing Democrats to local position can accomplish. Republicans had dominated the County Supervisor seats in Marshall County for years. In 2006, Democrat Patrick Brooks was elected. Since then Marshall County has adopted a wind turbine ordinance to encourage small wind turbines throughout the county and now this ordinance. Both are progressive, forward looking actions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I live in Marshall County, Iowa. The interesting thing here is that Iowa has a law requiring a deposit on aluminum beverage cans and glass beverage bottles, but most local grocery stores that sell these items have chosen not to accept them for recycling. This makes it very inconvenient for folks with limited transportation. We have one recycling center with limited hours, and minimal public transportation. While the bag ban is probably a good idea, we can't stop there. Stores that profit from sales of soda and beer should be required to accept those containers back for recycling. Note: the local evil giant (Wal Mart) does have a redemption area.