Commission works to reduce number of paper, plastic bags in Eau Claire

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis (WEAU)-- According to, nearly one trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide. It's estimated that more than one million tons of those bags end up in the ocean or landfills.

Right now, the Eau Claire Sustainability Commission is working to reduce those numbers.

Ned Noel with the sustainability commission says members recently voted to forward an educational resolution to the Eau Claire City Council in hopes of finding a solution to reduce the number of shopping bags used.

“The sustainability commission is looking at not all together banning these bags, like some cities have, but recognizing that there is a role for these bags whether it's reused for garbage, but to try and reduce those disposable bags and encourage those reusable ones,” says Noel.

Bob McCoy, President for the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce believes it all has to do with educating the community.

“If Eau Claire has a ban on plastic bags and nobody else does, you still haven't solved the problem. To us, the biggest solution is to educate as many people as possible and try to reduce it as much as we can,” says McCoy.

Companies like Target and Mega Co-Op have started implementing reusable bags.

“We do offer a discount for anybody who brings in their own bag, or if they would like to purchase one of their own bags at the store, its five cents off for every bag you use for groceries,” says Jeremy Dickinson, assistant store director at Mega Co-Op.

“We love the reusable bags here. It's a nice way for our guests to save a little bit of money. When they're able to use these reusable bags, their able to save five cents and they help the environment, so it's really cool that we're able to do something to help them out in that way,” says Nick Anderson, Executive Team Leader at Target.

Now, Noel says over the next two years, the goal is to reduce the number of both plastic and paper bags by 45%.

“They're going to look at annually surveying using a proxy of how these bags are hopefully being reduced. That's their goal. So at the end of 2017 they would re look at if the 45% goal is met or not,” says Noel.

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