Wisconsin ready to shut down plastic bag ban movement

Wisconsin lawmakers are close to banning bans of plastic bags in the state.

The state Senate this week will take up a bill that would strip communities of the right to ban the bags, after the state Assembly easily approved the bill.

“Most of the time, government is reactive and we are trying to be proactive,” Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton, tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He’s the chief sponsor in the Senate of the bill that doesn’t allow communities to regulate containers made of plastic, paper, cardboard, metal and glass. “This could be very burdensome,” he said.

No community in the state has enacted such a ban, although Eau Claire came close in 2013 before the outcry prompted city politicians to step back.

Roth says plastic bags can be environmentally friendlier than canvas tote bags, cited an industry-sponsored study that says the tote bag has to be used 131 times before its carbon footprint is less than a plastic bag.

California is the only state with a statewide ban on plastic bags. A few other states are considering requirements that stores that use plastic bags provide a recycling option.