Eau Claire (WQOW) – The Eau Claire City Council has decided to postpone a vote on a Sustainable Bag Resolution until early February.
After a long debate the City Council voted unanimously to postpone a decision so that the resolution could be reworded.
The Sustainable Bag Committee recommended a plan that included 4 steps: pre-development, education, incentive and requirement. With the ultimate goal of an 80% reduction in paper and plastic bag use over the next 5 years.
"We feel and I think that our whole committee was very confident that through education and incentives we can make this happen," says City Council Vice President Dave Duax. "We have no cost at this, in these early years at all. There would be no cost until such time as this program may fail. And then we would take a next step and say we will now have to require bags be recycled material only or we're going to have to have a fee per bag, those things are last resorts."
The proposal has been met with some opposition, focusing on the second two phases of the plan.
"Who's going to be the plastic bag police? Who's going to enforce this? Does the city have enough staff to go around to 3,000 businesses and find out if they are collecting a tax? Where does the tax money go?" asks Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce President Bob McCoy. "Let's look at some other ways. These people in our area are very good about trying to make things happen and environmentally friendly without restrictions and regulations."
The council will consider the reworded resolution during their first meeting in February.