Those ubiquitous plastic grocery bags drew some discussion at City Hall Monday, with the city’s environmental guy squaring off with a bag maker about how toxic (or not) the bags are, according to a DMN story. Eric Griffin, the city’s interim Office of Environmental Quality director, asked the council to consider eliminating the use of plastic grocery-type bags over a five-year period, primarily by levying a five-cent fee to discourage use and banning them completely if the fee didn’t work. But councilman Linda Koop, chair of the council committee discussing the issue, flat-out told Griffin she didn’t favor taxing the bags. Meanwhile, Griffin and a Hilex vice president (Hilex is one of the world’s largest bag producers) argued about whether the bags are toxic and how quickly they break down in the environment. One interesting tidbit: Those of us who are putting the plastic bags in the city’s blue recycling bags apparently are creating work for city employees. Since the grocery bags aren’t recyclable, they’re being sorted out of the blue bags and shipped to the landfill instead. In the end, Koop and omni-present councilman Ron Natinsky agreed that something needs to be done, perhaps requiring that a certain percentage of the grocery bags be manufactured from recycled material.
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