Environment

Philly Plastic Bag Ban Likely Delayed

Last minute maneuvers in the State House most likely means the plastics ban will be put hold for at least a year.


Philadelphia's proposed ban on plastic bags will likely be delayed by at least a year.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg added a last-minute amendment to the state budget package, which would prohibit the state and local governments from passing new regulations on plastic bags for one year . The provision also directs two state offices to study the economic and environmental impact of regulating plastic bags.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA) could veto the provision, but he would have to veto the entire $34 billion state budget.

"Honestly, I think it's a disgrace to be able to have the ability to go in there and usurp local municipalities for what they believe would benefit their local interests," Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla told the Inquirer. "It's a slippery slope of total control over the local."

Squila introduced the bill in Philadelphia, which would ban the use of plastic bags at most stores and charge a 15-cent fee on single-use paper bags.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) supported the amendment, saying his district includes both a plastics manufacturer and a municipality considering a fee on plastic bags, so he wants more study into the issue.

Some corporations have already started to take action on the plastics issue. Last month, Kroger (the largest grocery chain in the United States) announced that it would phase out plastic bags by the year 2025. A Giant Eagle spokesman told Sparkt 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, and that Giant Eagle remains committed to sustainability.

The World Economic Forum estimates that there are 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic on Earth (the equivalent of 25,000 Empire State Buildings), 6.3 billion metric tons of which have been disposed of as waste. Every year, 8 million tons of plastic reach the oceans--that's equal to a full garbage truckload each minute.

In Pennsylvania, 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.

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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