How To Reduce Plastic Bag Pollution?

State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today reintroduced a bill that would encourage consumers to shift away from using inefficient plastic shopping bags by imposing a $0.02 fee for each bag provided by a retail establishment.

“Plastic shopping bags represent a disconnect in our consumer culture,” Leach said. “They are used for mere minutes, but can take a thousand years to degrade. They clutter our urban areas, contaminate our waterways, and kill more than one million birds and marine mammals each year.” Leach said.

Leach noted that, of the $0.02 fee, one penny would be kept by retail establishments to improve their internal recycling practices, while the other penny would be returned to the Commonwealth to fund state recycling programs.

The legislation would only impact plastic carryout bags provided at the point of sale and would not include:

  • Reusable bags specifically designed for multiple use made of cloth, fabric or durable plastic at least 2.25 mils;
    • · Plastic bags used to carry or bundle produce for delivery to the point of sale; and
    • · Compostable carryout bags that meet compostable plastic standards.

“Two cents is a small price to pay for a cleaner, more vibrant planet,” Leach said. “However, our goal is not to collect the fee, but to encourage shoppers to make sustainable choices at the checkout counter.”

Currently, the average American family uses 60 plastic bags in just four trips to the grocery store.

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One Comment

  1. Good for Daylin Leach! Still, we need much bigger fees than these to make a difference. I love my re-usable bags of all shapes and sizes. I’m not perfect — I probably accept about 10 new plastic bags at point of sale per year — so dear readers, compete with me! (If you need to re-use plastic bags, just ask your neighbors; you’ll find everybody has a stash. There’s no need to accept any new plastic bags with millions already in use).

    Let’s see if the two-penny fee makes any real difference in plastic bag use. The rhetoric is great and something is better than nothing, but we need real action here. Single-use plastic bags at point of sale should be banned. If you had to watch just one sea turtle die from ingesting plastic, up close and personal, you might find yourself capable of not accepting any more plastic bags — or at least, reduce your use by 90%.

    Meanwhile let’s make sure this bill gets passed! Unless something stronger shows up!


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