Local fees on plastic containers could be blocked by state

Local governments would not be allowed to impose fees on plastic bags, cups or containers, if a bill introduced in the Ohio House becomes law.

State Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., who pushed the same legislation last year, re-introduced the bill on May 13.

The bill is likely to garner support from grocers, restaurants and retail merchants and opposition from environmental groups and local governments.

House Bill 242 has not yet been assigned to a committee and Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, said he has yet to take a position on it.

It would pre-empt townships, cities and counties from imposing fees or taxes on the use of “auxiliary containers” — bags, cans, cups, food or beverage containers, bottles or other packaging made of plastic, paper, foam, cardboard, aluminum or other material.

In November, the same bill passed the House on a 54-30 vote. A similar bill was considered in the Ohio Senate but did not advance to a floor vote last legislative session.

Related: Ohio House passes bill blocking cities from imposing plastic bag fees

The American Legislative Exchange Council, which advocates for limited government and free market policies, last year offered a “model policy” for preempting local government fees and regulations on “auxiliary containers.” ALEC is funded by a long-list of corporations that stand to benefit from model policies that the council advances.

The 13 states that have adopted pre-emption laws include Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Conversely, California, Hawaii, New York and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to ban single-use plastic bags, according to NCSL.

Related: Kroger plans to phase out plastic bags by 2025

About the Author