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Customers who use grocery delivery, pickup services exempt from Woodstock plastic bag tax – for now

Some customers get free pass on extra cost until Jan. 1, 2022

Customers who opt to use online grocery services that allow for curbside pick up or drop off will get a free pass on Woodstock’s newly enacted paper and plastic bag tax through 2022.

The Woodstock City Council this week amended its single-use bag tax ordinance after discussion with a Walmart representative about how the store would incorporate reusable bags into its drop-off and pickup services.

The tax – which requires customers to pay 10 cents each for paper and plastic bags – applies only at retailers 5,000 square feet or larger.

The seven largest retail stores in Woodstock include Walmart, Jewel-Osco, Woodstock Harley Davidson, Walgreens, Menards, Kohls and Farm and Fleet. Both Jewel-Osco and Walmart offer pickup and delivery services.

“To facilitate an opportunity for retailers to develop an environmentally-friendly solution, it was suggested to initially exempt single-use bags for these specialized services and allow a time period for further research to determine a viable solution,” City Manager Roscoe Stelford wrote in a memo to the council.

The exemption will expire Jan. 1, 2022.

The council enacted the bag tax – effective Jan. 1 – in September.

Woodstock’s Environmental Commission and Cultural and Social Awareness Commission have been working on the effort since 2015, which included giving away reusable bags to Woodstock residents.

The stores will keep 3 cents from the 10-cent fee, with the rest of the money going to Woodstock’s environmental management fund.

The tax doesn’t apply to prescription medication bags, bags provided at farmers markets or yard sales, paper or plastic bag used for carryout at restaurants, paper bags used to protect fragile items, any newspaper bag, door hanger bags or bags intended for initial use as a dry cleaning, garbage, pet waste or yard waste bags, bags used to package a bulk item or to contain or wrap a perishable item and now any bag used for curbside pickup or delivery for items bought using the internet before January 1, 2022, under the ordinance.

The council approved the exemption with no discussion.

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