LANSING, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Senate has voted to prohibit local governments from regulating the sale of plastic bags and food containers.

The bill approved 25-12 mostly along party lines Tuesday is an effort by businesses to stop municipalities from banning the bags or adding fees to use them. Some communities in Michigan are discussing the regulation of plastic bags, though no ordinances have been passed yet.

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Majority Republicans support the proposed law as a way to ensure consistent regulations statewide, while Democrats say the bill erodes local control.

Some municipalities such as Washtenaw County have been considering a ban on plastic bags in favor of reusable bags — saying the plastic ones littering the state are wasteful, hurt the environment and cause damage in recycling facilities.  According to the Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority, plastic bag waste constitutes 80 percent of total annual waste by volume. [Read more from the county on problems with plastic bags].

The county’s Board of Commissioners had approved a proposal that would place a 10 cent fee on plastic and paper bags.

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Dan Papineau, with the Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers says he believes the use of reusable bags in stores creates other problems.

“In fact,” he said, “those cloth-like bags have to be reused 131 times to ensure that they have less of an environmental impact than a single plastic bag used only once.

Papineau said retailers in other parts of the country have suffered where plastic bag bans were instituted, including declining business and thousands of dollars lost to shoplifting.

The bill next goes to the Republican-led House.

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