I would like to express appreciation to the Laurel City Council for their July 10 vote to amend the existing plastic bag ban in Laurel to require retailers in the city to charge a minimum of ten cents for a paper bag for all consumers who request them. This charge, which is retained by the retail stores and restaurants, is intended to encourage shoppers to bring their own bags. 

Laurel has often been in the forefront of instituting environmentally responsible policies, and this follows in that footprint by reducing plastic bag waste and paper bag usage and promoting use of reusable bags. 

This clear cut ordinance, which begins January 1, 2024, is consistent with those in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties and applies to all shoppers. Since no one needs to pay for any bags if they bring their own bag into the store, the ordinance places no financial burden on anyone, regardless of income level. 

The city, in collaboration with community organizations, hopes to sponsor reusable bag give-always well before the January 1st deadline. Stores will be required to post signage near entrances and checkout lanes to remind shoppers of the new policy and to bring their own bags. This is a new habit we can all develop. 

Holly Hoglund 

Old Town Laurel