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Plastic Bag Ban in Cuyahoga County

Guest Post by: Julia Karlovec, DLDT Intern

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On May 28, 2019 a county wide ban was passed by the Cuyahoga County Council that prohibits retailers from using both disposable plastic bags and paper bags that are not 100% recyclable. Members of Cuyahoga County Council have been trying to pass this ban for many years with Councilperson Sunny Simon leading the efforts since 2011. The ban was set to go into effect on January 1, 2020. However, on December 19, 2019 the council voted to extend a “grace period” to July 1, 2020 in order to give retailers and communities time to adjust to the new regulations.

Plastic bags are extremely harmful to the environment. Plastic waste is clogging our landfills and is polluting Lake Erie. In addition, Cuyahoga County ‘disposes’ more than 319 million plastic bags each year, and these “disposed” plastic bags can take over one million years to decompose (Source: Giannetti). The communities of Cuyahoga County who participate in this ban will be making a significant contribution to keeping the lake and landfills in Lake Erie cleaner.

This ban seeks to prohibit 55 of the 59 cities, townships, and villages, located in Cuyahoga County from using plastic bags at checkout. An opt out provision has already been exercised by the communities of Brooklyn, North Olmsted and Independence. The “opt out” provision which keeps the cities from having to comply from this ban. Furthermore, exceptions to the plastic bag ban for retailers include newspapers, dry cleaning, meat, pet waste, and medication prescriptions.

DLDT would like to call on all retailers to support this make-sense ban to protect our communities and Great Lake regardless of township or village participation. And, as consumers, we can all choose to go plastic-bag-free when shopping and together be #Waves4Change.


“BYOBags.” Cuyahoga County Office of the Executive

“Cuyahoga Recycles: Plastic Bags.”

Giannetti, Devyn. “Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect January 1, 2020.” Office of the Cuyahoga County Executive, 30 Dec. 2019

Frayer, Lauren. “An Indian State Bans Plastic Bags, Straws And More. Will It Work?” Ideastream, 9 July 2018