Local View: Charge for plastic bags to reduce their single use
We are writing in concern of the environment, our future, and the well-being of all individuals in Duluth and beyond. We are members of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group on the campus of the University o...
We are writing in concern of the environment, our future, and the well-being of all individuals in Duluth and beyond. We are members of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth that focuses on environmental, social, and economic justice.
We are writing to call on Super One Foods and on all retailers in Duluth to implement a 10-cent charge on single-use plastic bags. The fee can help reduce the number of bags consumers use and reduce the amount of unnecessary plastic added to our environment.
Studies show that a small fee on plastic bags that cost businesses thousands of dollars can reduce consumer use of plastic bags by up to 85 percent, as was reported in the Guardian in 2017.
Grocers such as Krogers already have implemented a fee on plastic bags. Duluth businesses have the opportunity to be part of leading Minnesota toward being more sustainable. Savers in Duluth also has implemented a bag-fee system, showing it can be done locally, even with a low-income population.
As Bag it Duluth, a local campaign focused on minimizing the abundance of single-use plastics, states on its website, "Nothing changes with respect to bag choices. Consumers and retailers keep their options. The only difference is that retailers are required to assess a pass-through charge of no less than (five cents)."
Doing so would advocate for the use of fewer reusable bags and other sustainable practices. This greatly would reduce the 87,000 tons of plastic bags thrown away every year in Minnesota, a figure reported by the Star Tribune in 2015.
There could be so many positive outcomes for a better environment, including less waste and a smaller carbon footprint. A bag fee can spark additional reusable practices. The simple fee could help reduce the amount of plastics regularly found on Park Point and Brighton Beach, as well as in the St. Louis River.
Stop the bags, which, according to our Regional Stormwater Task Force, are clogging storm drains into the St. Louis River. Help reduce litter from Morgan Park to Lakeside.
Duluth and its citizens are ready for this change. Bag it Duluth has support from 110 organizational groups and signatures from 1,200 Twin Ports citizens who support charging for bags at local businesses. These are citizens and businesses which will stand with and support Super One and all retailers in Duluth which choose to make this sustainable transition.
Other regions around the world have started to charge for single-use plastics with great success. We would love to see Super One and other retailers in Duluth lead the way and show the world Minnesota also knows what sustainability is all about.
We and many in our generation are terrified about the legacy that has been left to us, and we are asking for action now.
Alaina Lawrence and Stine Myrah are students at the University of Minnesota Duluth and are members of the grassroots, student-directed Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, which engages the community in collective action.