Sep 22, 2021 - News
Bag fee returns for Minneapolis shoppers in October
Illustration of a plastic bag reading "five cents" repeatedly instead of "thank you."
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Time to wash that tote. Minneapolis' 5-cent fee for single-use shopping and carryout bags is back in effect, beginning Oct. 1.

State of play: A city ordinance requiring that grocery stores and other retailers charge customers who don't bring their own bags took effect in January 2020, but the city delayed enforcement until now due to the pandemic.

  • The rule includes a number of exemptions, including items in produce and flower bags, farmers' market vendors, and customers who receive benefits from federal and state food assistance programs.

The big picture: A growing number of cities and states have adopted policies aimed at reducing use of single-use plastics in recent years.

  • But concerns about germs during the pandemic slowed or paused implementation of many bans and fees across the nation.

Zoom in: Minneapolis and Duluth were the major Minnesota cities with fees on the books as of 2020.

  • Efforts to enact a statewide fee have failed to muster support in the Legislature. DFL lawmakers supporting that proposal expect to introduce it again next year, a spokesperson told Axios.

The other side: Grocers and other retailers have opposed the local fee push, citing concerns about enforcement and effects on businesses if shoppers head to other cities without them, like St. Paul.

The bottom line: Want to avoid paying up? Bring your own bag.

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