LAWRENCE, Kan. — Next year, Lawrence won’t allow single-use plastic disposable plastic bags.
After years of debate, the Lawrence City Commission passed a ban on the bags Tuesday night with a 3-2 vote.
But the ordinance will have a later start date than originally proposed. Now the plastic bag ban will take effect March 1.
A previous attempt to pass the ban failed back in June with a tie vote where one Lawrence commissioner was absent, but all commissioners were present Tuesday night.
Several major cities across the United States — including Boston, Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles — have implemented similar bans in recent years.
The ordinance bans establishments from providing single-use disposable plastic bags to consumers for the purpose of transporting food, beverages or other merchandise.
There are some exceptions for certain groups, according to the ordinance:
- Religious and charitable institutions, except when engaged in the commercial sale or distribution of perishable or non-perishable items to consumers.
- Schools, except when engaged in the commercial sale or distribution of perishable or non-perishable items to consumers.
- Not-for-profit organizations, except when engaged in the commercial sale or distribution of perishable or non-perishable items to consumers.
- Farmers markets
And there are exceptions for certain items:
- The sale of live animals, such as fish, insects, or the like.
- Laundry, dry cleaning, or garment bags.
- Produce bags or product bags.
The ordinance also sets fines for establishments that violate the ban and sets specifications for the thicker reusable bags that will be allowed.
Enforcement of the ban will rely on creating another city position for code compliance. That will cost the city an estimated $94,000 per year.