Plastic bag ban: Could this be a city ordinance by next year?

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Banning plastic bags in Wichita is a discussion that’s been brought to the Wichita City Council several times. As a result, the city started the Wichita Plastic Bag Ban Task Force in February of 2020. 

The group includes some city council members, businesses like Dillons and Goodwill, and other advocates. Member Lori Lawrence said it has been a slow process to present an actual ordinance to the council.

COVID-19 has pushed back meetings and outreach efforts. The task force has also been working on getting an economic impact and litter study finalized.

There was also a bill in Topeka that brought some hesitancy. The bill would not allow cities to regulate or add fees for paper bags, plastic straws, and plastic single-use bags. Some critics argued that the decision should be left up to each business or town.

The bill died in committee in May of 2020, but Lawrence said there are still discussions up for debate in Topeka that could spark up over the next year.

While it brought hesitancy, Lawrence said she believes there is enough support from the city and the council to pass an ordinance.

“All of our bags that end up in our water goes to the Gulf, and that’s where the animals that can get trapped in them and die,” she said. “We’re all part of a chain, and we have to do our part here in Wichita as well.”

Lawrence said she wants the city to implement it, even if the state decides otherwise. 

“Even if they do stop our ban, they’ve done that in other states, if we get people started in this direction, they will keep up with it,” she said. “Just breaking a habit, they get a new habit, so their new habit is good.”

The task force plans to present an ordinance by January.  Wichita, Salina and Lawrence are just a few communities looking at banning plastic bags.

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