Wichita creates task force to look at options to ban plastic bags

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Paper or plastic? In the future, you may not have that option at grocery stores in Wichita. Tuesday night, the city council unanimously voted to create a task force to look into the possibility of banning plastic bags.

This group is made up of city council members, local business, and community organizations. Their objective is to discuss the pros and cons of banning plastic bags. It’s a trend that some Wichita businesses are already part of.

“We have been plastic-free just because we like to see the impact of it,” said Gabi Johnson, a worker at Clifton Collective. Last year, the clothing boutique on Douglas decided to stop using plastic bags. Shoppers have access to paper bags, or they can bring their own.

So far, Johnson says customers don’t seem to mind.

“Most people don’t even think much about it. Which is awesome and that’s what we want to achieve in this society is that people don’t even think twice about the fact they’re getting plastic-free,” she said.

Eliminating single-use plastic is a topic Lori Lawrence is passionate about.

“It will be in our environment for another 500 years. It doesn’t biodegrade. It ends up in our waterways,” said Lawrence.

As a member of a community group, Bag Free Wichita, she spoke to city council last year and asked about banning the bags. She is now one of the 11 members on the single-use plastic bag task force.

Councilman Brandon Johnson says the group will look at other cities across the country who have banned the bags and study how they did it.

“Ultimately, what would a ban look like? What is that process? Will citizens petition for that or will council just moved forward with an ordinance? All of those are things we wanna discuss and look at,” he said.

As well as, study the impact it’s had on a variety of things relating to business and residents.

“We wanna make sure if we are making policy that it has the least negative impact on citizens as possible,” said Johnson.

Councilman Johnson says there is no set date for when the task force will officially meet. He expects it to happen by the end of the month or the beginning of March.

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