Yesterday during a hearing of the House State and Local Government Committee, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce testified in support of House Bill 242. HB 242 defines auxiliary containers and preempts local jurisdictions from imposing a fee, charge or tax on auxiliary containers. The bill also explicitly allows the use of such containers. During the last General Assembly, the House passed HB 625 with very similar language.
HB 242 defines an auxiliary container as a bag, can, cup, food or beverage service item, container, keg, bottle or other packaging that can be made out of a vast array of materials. Auxiliary containers are used to consume, transport or protect merchandise, food or beverages obtained at a food service operation, or from retail food establishments, grocery stores or any type of retail, manufacturing or distribution establishment.
HB 242 would preempt the development of local ordinances that seek to ban auxiliary containers or ordinances that require a fee or charge to be paid for the use of the auxiliary container. In our testimony, the Ohio Chamber raised the concern of a cumbersome patchwork of local regulations that stifle free enterprise and adds cost for both consumers and businesses. The marketplace use of auxiliary containers will evolve organically as customer preferences change and as technology innovates both the types of auxiliary containers available and the materials used in packaging. There is no need for local mandates that simply interfere with the free market. Existing approaches to deal with post-consumer use of auxiliary containers like local littering laws or local recycling programs combined with marketplace innovation will achieve better results than a patchwork of cumbersome, and sometimes confusing, local ordinances that will only add costs for businesses and consumers.