Plastic checkout bags will be banned in Mansfield in six months, as voted 8-1 by the Mansfield Town Council Monday night.
The “Bring Your Own Bag” ordinance, named for the push for residents to use reusable plastic bags while shopping, has been a hot topic for the past several months, with multiple town residents attending the previous meeting to call for the council to ban the bags.
Republican council member David Freudmann was the only member who opposed the ban, citing issues with over-regulation that would harm local businesses.
“This is very well-meaning…[but] I consider this ordinance to be inappropriate micromanagement on local corporate activity,” Freudmann said. “There are three responsibilities of a local small town government. They are public safety, public works and education… this is not a public safety emergency.”
Freudmann warned of “consequences we cannot foresee.”
“It’s tough enough to make a buck out there,” Freudmann said. “Proprietors are trying to make a buck one customer at a time. [If] someone forgets their plastic bag, and they’re trying to buy a book, they’re trying to buy a teddy bear for their kid, and they don’t get their plastic bag, they’re going to go somewhere else. They’re going to Coventry.”
Freudmann added that if such legislation is to be enacted, it should be on a state level, and not in a “patchwork” method across towns and counties.
Democrat Councilperson Ben Shaiken said the town will take steps to help residents and businesses adapt to the change, both by informing people and by distributing reusable bags.
“The town does as much as we possibly can with staff and volunteers so that nobody is taken by surprise,” Shaiken said. He advised that the town “work with the schools to send a bag home with every student.
“Everyone in Mansfield who wants a reusable bag will have one,” Shaiken said.
Jacob Ningen is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.