- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - The Dubuque City Council voted unanimously to resume a study of plastic bags as officials work to reduce their distribution in the city.

The Environmental Stewardship Advisory Commission started discussions about the city’s plastic bag use in 2010. The next year, council members passed an initiative to find ways to cut plastic bag use by 90 percent by July 2017.

Commission members recently submitted a letter to the City Council criticizing the lack of progress on the initiative, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1r9pFkP ). A key part of the city’s strategy was for retailers to report how many plastic bags were being used, but officials say it was never adopted because business owners opposed it.

Council member Kevin Lynch said he’s disappointed businesses that were involved in reaching a “reasonable compromise” a few years ago appear to not have held up their end of the deal.

“The first thing I would suggest we start with is a challenge to them,” Lynch said. “There’s a little over two years left (until the goal deadline). It’s time to kick it into high gear if you want to get something done.”

Council member Ric Jones said California’s governor approved a statewide ban on plastic bags last month, which would offer Dubuque some “real data.” But he also noted prohibiting their use might not be the best strategy to implement locally.

The City Council didn’t establish a timeline for the study, but asked city staff and commission members to continue researching the issue and to share their findings with the council.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com

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