Baltimore County Council Passes Plastic Bag Ban; Key Amendment to Spare Many Local Businesses

Our readers may remember the op-ed printed in our January 19 issue discussing the proposed plastic bag ban in Baltimore County (Baltimore Jewish Home Jan 19, 2023, p. 64, “Baltimore County Wants YOU to Be a Reusable Bag Lay”). After a long period of discussion, and a huge amount of feedback from Baltimore County residents and business owners, the Baltimore County Council approved a modified “Bring Your Own Bag” Act, restricting the distribution of plastic bags at stores in in the county. 

Many readers are familiar with the concerns our community had regarding the impact of the bill on the stores in our area where we do our food shopping. These concerns were heightened by the impact a plastic bag ban would have on those with larger families who fill up shopping carts worth of food items, large and small, each time they go out the shop. Readers may have seen a petition circulated asking for the ban to be defeated, or to contact their county council member to express their opinion on the matter. And they may remember other concerns voiced by Seven Mile Market Manager Moshe Boehm and Market Maven Manager Eli Siegel, as discussed in the Jan. 19 article. 

Fortunately, however, a key amendment was suggested for consideration, one that would allay many of the concerns. After prolonged discussion with community representatives, including City Councilman Yitzy Schleifer, Rabbi Ariel Sadwin of Agudah Maryland, and several local business owners, Councilman Izzy Patoka successfully introduced a compromise exception geared to protecting small businesses without dismissing the ban entirely. Patterned after a similar law in Colorado, stores with less than four locations are defined as mom-and-pop stores and are exempted from the ban, striking a balance in an attempt to protect the environment without unduly burdening small businesses and the common consumer. 

Community households and business owners applauded the leadership of Councilman Patoka for taking the community’s input so strongly into account and for seeing this resolution through. 

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