Giant Eagle, Pennsylvania Lawmakers Consider Plastic Bag Bans

This, after the nation's largest grocery chain Kroger announced it would phase out plastic bags over six years.

Giant Eagle is considering eliminating or reducing single-use plastic bags in its stores as one option to cut down on the amount of plastic pollution, but so far they haven't made a decision on a course of action. The nation's largest grocery store chain, Kroger, announced it would phase out plastic by 2025.

Cincinnati-based Kroger, which operates 2,779 stores in 35 states and DC, made the announcement last week. According to CBS News, Kroger orders approximately 6 billion bags each year .

Giant Eagle spokesman Dick Roberts tells Sparkt that the company is studying the issue and expects to have an announcement about what their chain will do about single-use bags sometime in August. "Giant Eagle has a long history of sustainability. 'We're really committed," said Roberts. Roberts points out the chain recycles 3 million pounds of plastic film annually from stores that have recycling bins and has several LEED certified stores. These are stores that meet "green" building standards.

Giant Eagle is studying whether to follow Kroger's lead in eliminating plastic bags.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans used more than 380 billion plastic bags and wraps every year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to make. Only five percent of plastic bags are recycled.

If Giant Eagle and other grocery chains do not take action on their own they may face new laws forcing them to do so. There are several bills in the State House, under the umbrella title of "Zero Waste PA," that would ban plastic bags, straws, styrofoam cups and containers in restaurants, and take other environmental protection actions. Giant Eagle's Roberts says their chain definitely wants to be pro-active. "We want to be a leader in this area," said Roberts, who said they will need to work with lawmakers not only at the state, but also the municipal level to figure out the right course.

You can read more about the proposed bills here .

California, Hawaii and New York are the states with current bans of plastic bags. Additionally, individual communities in Washington, South Carolina, Texas, Rhode Island and Oregon have passed bans or restrictions on some plastic products.

If you want to share your thoughts about the proposed plastic bans in Pennsylvania, you can click here to find and contact your representative .

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