BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Jack Young signed the plastic bag ban at the Inner Harbor Monday morning.

The ban, which prohibits retailers from providing plastic bags to customers, will go into effect in January 2021.

“This morning, I signed the Comprehensive Bag Reduction Act into law. I am proud that Baltimore City is leading the way in creating cleaner neighborhoods and waterways so we can leave our city and state to our children better than we found them,” Young tweeted. “Thank you to all the advocates for your hard work to pass this local ordinance and the work ahead to pass a plastic bag ban at the state level during the 2020 legislative session.”

The bill hopes to crack down on pollution. The bags are often littering city streets and end up in the Inner Harbor, leading the National Aquarium to support the measure.

“Single-use plastics are not worth the convenience,” said National Aquarium President John Racanelli.

It’s not the first time the city has tried to ban plastic bag use. Since 2006, the city council has tried to ban the use of plastic bags nine times. But some argued that the ban would create a financial burden on the city’s small business owners.

So what does this mean for retailers and customers?

Retailers will no longer be able to give customers a plastic bag and will charge five cents for any alternative bag they provide, including paper bags. Four cents will go into the retailers’ pockets, while a penny will go to the city.

It will take effect a year from Monday.

“It lets stores who already have supplies of plastic bags use them up so they’re not stuck literally holding the bag,” said Councilman Bill Henry, who sponsored the bill.

Any retailer found in violation of the ban at least three times could be fined up to $1,000.

Officials are hoping city shoppers will bring their own reusable bags to stores.

Annie Rose Ramos

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