Nickel a Bag Coming to Minneapolis

As of January 1st , 2020, a few select retailers will have to begin to comply with the city’s newest ordinance of collecting a .05 fee on plastic and paper bags. This initiative is not new. In fact, many countries around the world have implemented such rules to reduce waste and trash. Most countries and cities have complied and made concessions. However for Minneapolis, it will be an adjustment.

What does this mean for our membership in Minneapolis? Well, restaurants will still be able to send folks away with their take out or doggie bags in plastic. However, our off sale brethren will not be as fortunate. Off premise establishments will be required to charge a nickel a bag for either paper or plastic. What that means is that all off premise establishments will have to do a few things. First, they should begin to encourage and educate their customers on what is coming. Second, retailers should encourage and educate their customers to bring their own satchels to transport their spirits. Third, be cognizant that regulators WILL be conducting compliance checks to make sure retailers are in compliance.

As this newly crafted ordinance begins on January 1 st , 2020, the city will not start to implement fines until the summer of 2020. For now, the city has encouraged your customers to call 3-1-1 and file a complaint if your establishment is not complying. After a failed compliance check, inspectors will begin to dole out $200+ fines for the violators. I’m still not sure whether the clerk or the establishment will receive the fine. Stay tuned. A major wrinkle is that the clerk will be required to check the status of a customer’s SNAP program. This could result in some very interesting
conversations about someone’s income status. This is almost unavoidable. As more develops, the MLBA will keep you current.

There is no tax that needs to be collected on these fees. This has been confirmed by the City of Minneapolis. Lastly, boxes are not included in the fee matrix. So for now, you can still pack someone’s purchase in a box and send them on their way.

Below, you will see the slide deck that was provided by the Department of Environmental Programs. It is in your best interest to view this to become even more familiar.

Tony Chesak
Executive Director