Single-use plastic bag opponents eye green options

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A Bloomington group opposed to single-use plastic bags is seeking more environmentally friendly solutions, including a possible ban on their use.

The group, which doesn’t have a name yet, hopes to eventually propose greener options to the Bloomington City Council.

Center for Sustainable Living board member Jeanne Leimkuhler told The Herald-Times that about 140 municipalities across the U.S. have imposed limits on plastic bags, including about 90 in California. The ordinances include measures that charge for each plastic or paper bag, ban their use altogether or offer credits to customers who supply their own reusable bags.

“It feels like there’s momentum with this. If Los Angeles can do this, Bloomington can do this,” Leimkuhler told a group discussing the issue recently.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that 32 million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2012.

City ordinances that require stores to charge 5 to 10 cents a bag funnel those funds toward environmental programs, Leimkuhler said.

Proponents of an ordinance say Bloomington would be a good place to start educating people and making it inconvenient to use plastic bags.

“This might really shift the culture of Bloomington,” said Amy Countryman, who has seen the plastic bags and trash that litter the beaches of Belize.

But some expressed concern that an ordinance wouldn’t go over well in a city still stinging from criticism over downtown parking meters that were installed last August.

City sustainability coordinator Jacqui Bauer urged those gathered to consider creative options and to keep an open mind.

The group also is considering conducting a survey this summer to study the issue. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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