Plastic Free Delaware thanks Legislature

June 11, 2019

Delaware’s Senate passed House Bill 130 which will ban single-use plastic bags as of Jan. 1, 2021, and will join California, New York and Vermont as the states which have passed legislation to address the growing crisis of plastic pollution.

Gov. John Carney has pledged to sign the bill into law.

House Bill 130, introduced by Rep. Gerald Brady, and co-sponsored by Sen. Trey Paradee, elevates the existing at-store single-use plastic bag recycling program by banning the use of thin plastic bags at large retailers. The bill allows for several exceptions such as meat. The goal is to encourage a shift to to reusable bags. Additionally, the bill aims to clean up Delaware’s communities and watersheds, reduce stormwater and trash management costs to taxpayers, and promote the health and safety of watersheds, wildlife and humans, and the ecosystem’s food chain.

According to Dee Durham, co-founder and co-chair of Plastic Free Delaware, an environmental group focused on education and advocacy on issues surrounding plastic pollution in Delaware, “millions of plastic bags end up as litter strewn across our communities, roadsides, parks, forests, rivers and coastlines, and clog our stormwater management systems resulting in increased cleanup costs.” Additionally, Plastic Free Delaware contends that single-use plastic bags contribute a toll on human health and well-being as toxic plastic particles are now being found in the food chain.

The insidious development of a disposable culture is exemplified by the exponential growth in the use - and abuse - of single-use plastics. Our communities, roadsides and marine environments are choking in trash and plastic litter. It is estimated that the average American uses 500 plastic carryout bags annually. Single-use plastics are made from natural gas or petroleum, a fossil fuel in limited supply with extensive environmental impacts in its extraction, production, and transportation.   

Along Delaware’s coastlines, despite the current voluntary recycling law put in place in 2009, plastic carryout bags remain one of the most prevalent and pervasive types of litter found during the annual Coastal Cleanup, which is only three hours each September. Statistics maintained by Delaware’s Recycling Public Advisory Council indicate that the current law has not achieved its goal of shifting shoppers’ norms to reusable bags. In addition, plastic is the most prevalent item found in a 2018 study of Delaware’s roadside litter. 

Plastic Free Delaware applauds Rep. Brady and Sen. Paradee and the other legislative leaders for tackling the crisis of plastic pollution with this first step addressing single-use plastic bags. 

Plastic Free Delaware is the only statewide organization focused on addressing the scourge of plastic pollution in Delaware by addressing the root causes through education, awareness building, and advocacy initiatives with a current focus on single-use plastic bags, straws, polystyrene, and balloons, for the health and benefit of animals, humans, our communities and our environment.

For more information, please contact: 302-981-1950.

Dee Durham
co-chair/co-founder, Plastic Free Delaware


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