BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham city councilor Darrell O’Quinn plans to introduce a plastic bag ban during Tuesday’s city council meeting.
O’Quinn tells CBS 42, plastic bags are costing the city money and costing the environment.
O’Quinn plans to introduce an ordinance that would require Birmingham retailers to offer something other than plastic bags, something made of recyclable or compostable material.
Right now, the state legislature is weighing over a bill sponsored by Senator Steve Livingston that would prevent local governments from banning the use of plastic bags.
O’Quinn says he’s hoping his ordinance will send a strong message to lawmakers that something of the sort would put a strain on local governments.
“The problem with that is is that single-use containers actually cause problems for municipalities, they’re a big part of the litter that we see on the streets which cost us money to have to go out and clean,” said O’Quinn.
Other cities like San Francisco, Chicago and Boston already have similar bans in effect.
Vincent Moore shops in Birmingham and says he wouldn’t mind having to use a reusable bag or something more eco-friendly.
“I think trash in this city is a big deal, in this whole area, not just Birmingham but even the metropolitan area it’s just a huge deal with trash, plastic bags, cans,” said Moore.
After conversations online questioned whether or not it’s the right time to enforce a plastic bag ban, Councilor O’Quinn says he wants to ensure residents, multiple issues can be looked into at the same time.
“This is one of the things that is sort of the low-hanging fruit that we can do to improve quality of life and reduce cost to taxpayers and move our city in a more sustainable direction,” said O’Quinn.
CBS 42 reached out to the Alabama Environmental Council for its take on the proposed ban.
“Many states and major cities throughout the United States are banning plastic bags due to the considerable negative impacts the bags have on our environment and health. It takes hundreds of years before a plastic bag breaks down and when they do, they become small toxic pieces that contaminate our soil, waterways and ultimately our health.” – Felicia Buck, Executive Director
O’Quinn tells CBS 42 he will introduce a city-wide plastic bag ban ordinance during Tuesday’s city council meeting at 9:30 a.m.