Shoppers react to possible plastic-bag fee in Durham

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham city and county leaders are moving a step forward in proposing a fee on shoppers who use plastic bags at retail and grocery stores.

Supporters of the fee said a 10-cent charge would encourage customers in Durham to use more reusable bags and less plastic.

Advocates said plastic bags have a life span of about 12 minutes but could take more than a decade to decompose.

Proposal would charge Durham shoppers 10-cent fee on plastic bags

The group Don't Waste Durham has lobbied city and county leaders in recent years to take action.

The 15-member Environmental Affairs Board voted in favor of an ordinance to charge customers who opt for plastic.

ABC11 spoke to customers in southwest Durham about the proposal.

"I think if it gets us toward not using single-use plastic then that's great," said Valine Zeigler who was at Target buying new shoes for her son. "I know that would work for me. If there is a charge for it. I would definitely bring my bags."

ABC11 caught Elizabeth Napolitano wrapping up back-to-school shopping. Napolitano said she normally uses reusable bags, but today we spotted her with a plastic bag to carry her daughter's supplies.

"Most people when they are shopping especially at Target or a Lowes Food or a Kroger - I don't think 10 cents for a shopping bag is going to impact people in one direction or another."

Crystal Dreisbach with Don't Waste Durham said she was excited when the board voted to move the proposal forward. She said reusables are a concept everyone can adjust to.

"I know from my background and my world travels that a shift toward reusables is nothing new. It's something that poor people in developing countries have been practicing for many years. It's neither a new idea nor an elite idea, nor an idea that only affluent people can practice."

The ordinance has to go through a few more committees and work sessions for discussion, evaluation and review before Durham elected leaders bring it to a vote.
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