Leach Introduces Bill to Reduce Plastic Bag Pollution

HARRISBURG, – On Aug. 5 State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) 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.

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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.