The City of Duluth put an ordinance into place back in the fall of 2021 that allows retailers to charge five cents for each plastic bag a customer might need. The point of this ordinance was to hopefully have people use their own reusable bags to cut down on plastic bag waste.

I have actually been to some gas stations where they don't charge the additional five cents, but some make sure to ask first if you want a bag and then tack on the additional money. If you do a big grocery shopping trip, that five cents per bag could add up pretty quickly. For me, I use the bags for small garbage cans and I also bring back many of the bags to the grocery store to be recycled.

But, I must say I never thought about where the extra five cents per bag went too, but I assumed it was to the actual business since they purchase the bags initially and then some go to the city of Duluth, but apparently I was half right.

Eric Smith is taking this matter into his own hands by planning to sue the city of Duluth over this ordinance. He attended the Duluth City Council meeting this past Monday and stated that this particular ordinance is unconstitutional. He said per the ordinance that the money collected for the plastic bag fee goes to the business and not to better the city or its programs.

Smith said to WDIO:

So I actually did the math and figured out that the bag itself actually cost a penny. So the retailers in a sense are making $0.04 a bag and it’s our money and it belongs to the people. And I believe that the public should be entitled to know where that money is going. And because we know that it’s going to the retailer, instead we should have it go towards a fund such as affordable housing and towards low-income transportation.

Smith plans to represent himself in court for the lawsuit and has said that he will take this to the highest court if allowed. Stay tuned to see what happens next and if this actually ends up in a trial. What do you think? Should the city of Duluth get a cut of this five-cent fee per bag?

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