State lawmakers are being asked to consider how you can carry your groceries out of the store.
The City of Columbia is considering restricting the use of plastic bags at grocery stores in an effort to get more consumers to use reusable shopping bags. A proposal to enact a stronger restriction statewide has been offered several times in recent years in the Missouri House.
Representative Mary Nichols (D-Maryland Heights) is sponsoring it this year.
“Plastic bags do not degrade and they can sit in the landfill with a life expectancy of up to 1,000 years,” Nichols told Missourinet. “They’re unsightly, they’re harmful to wildlife, it puts toxins in the food chain.”
Representative Dan Shaul (R-Imperial), state director of the Missouri Grocers Association, is sponsoring a bill that would block such restrictions by the state or by local governments. He dismisses the landfill argument.
“Once you get in a landfill and the landfill is sealed, nothing biodegrades because oxygen is taken out of the mix,” Shaul argues. He claims proposed restrictions are based on “misinformation.”
“Plastic bags … come from a by-product of natural gas production, so they’re actually helping with the environment in that sense that they’re using part of the waste product of natural gas production,” said Shaul.
Supporters of the restrictions want to see shoppers use more reusable bags, often made of cloth, and Nichols’ bill would block the use of bags that aren’t recyclable or biodegradable.
“If we could use biodegradable materials it would be much better all-around,” said Nichols.