Dover, DE (June 6, 2019) –
This afternoon Delaware’s State Senate passed House Bill 130 which will ban single use plastic bags as of January 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. Governor Carney has pledged to sign the bill into law.
House Bill 130 introduced by Representative Brady, and co-sponsored by Senator Trey Paradee, moves the existing at-store recycling program regarding the use of single-use plastic bags to a new level by actually banning the use of thin plastic bags by 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 storm water 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 storm water 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 annually 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.
Governor Carney expected to sign bill into law in July 2019.
Plastic Free Delaware has been focused on raising awareness about the environmental impacts of single-use plastic bags, encouraging Delawareans to switch to reusable bags, and implement policy changes to mirror laws from across the globe which address the unsustainable use of plastic bags.
Do you know where to properly recycle your plastic bags and film? NOT in your curbside bin! They need to go back to a large retailer in Delaware (grocery stores, drug stores, etc), but were you aware, LESS THAN 10% of plastic carryout bags are reused or properly recycled?
Despite the recycling law implemented in 2009, the rate that Delawareans recycle their plastic bags has not changed consistently for the better.
Learn more about the current law on plastic bags, the history of legislation to this point, and any proposed bills being considered.
This continually growing list of organizations has endorsed a call to legislative action on plastic bags in Delaware.
of plastic bags are reused or recycled. So, more than 90% are ending up in the landfill or worse, out in our communities and environment.
The first plastic sandwich bags were introduced in 1957. Department stores started using plastic bags in the late 1970s and supermarket chains introduced the bags in the early 1980s. So, it was not too long ago that we actually didn't even use plastic bags. We can learn to live without them again.
Kid you not, the comment Plastic Free Delaware receives most often when discussing a bag ban or fee is that "but I use them for doggy duty."
1.) see #1 above (less than 10% are reused or recycled)
2.) Do you realize that they are not free? Consumers are paying for these bags now, by placing a mandatory fee on them we are simply externalizing the cost and giving customers a choice.
“Disposable” plastic bags:
Surfrider Foundation Rise Above Plastics Campaign
[i] Researchers have commonly found plastic bags in the digestive tracts of dead sea turtles. [Source: See N. Mrosovsky et al., Leatherback Turtles: The Menace of Plastic, 58 MARINE POLLUTION BULL. 287, 287-88 (2009) (noting that 37.2% of Leatherback turtle necropsies from 1968 to 2009 showed plastic in their stomachs, and plastic bags were the most commonly found item).
[ii] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2011; O'Brine and Thompson, 2010.
[iii] Andrady, 2011; Betts, 2008; Cole et al., 2011; Derriak, 2002; Moore et al., 2001; Moore, 2008; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2011; United Nations Environment Programme, 2009; Zarfl and Matthies, 2010.
[iv] True, 2012.
We, the undersigned, support statewide action to curtail the provision by retail stores of free "single-use" plastic bags and we urge statewide elected officials to pass legislation to that effect. This action will promote the health and safety of wildlife and watersheds, reduce toxins in our food chain, protect the natural beauty of our communities, conserve our resources, and reduce trash and storm water management costs to taxpayers:
Bethany Beach Chamber of Commerce
Brandywine Sprouts, Roots & Shoots Chapter of the Jane Goodall Institute
Bucktoe Creek Preserve
Citizens’ Climate Lobby-Lower DE
Claude E. Phillips Herbarium, at DE State University
The Claymont Dust Study Team
Clean Air Council
Council of Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred (CCOBH)
Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement
Delaware Audubon Society
Delaware Center for Horticulture
Delaware Clean Water Action
Delaware Interfaith Power & Light
Delaware Local Food Exchange
Delaware Nature Society
Delaware Plastic Pollution Action Coalition
Delaware Recycling Public Advisory Council (RPAC)
Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Delaware Votes for Animals
Delaware Zoological Society
Delawareans for Social and Economic Justice
Delmarva Ornithological Society
Elks Creek Watershed Association
Episcopal Diocese of Delaware
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Wilmington
Green Party Delaware
Harvest Market Natural Foods
Humane Society of the United States of America
Inland Bays Foundation
The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County
League of Women Voters, Delaware
Lewes Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center
MERR Institute, Inc.
NAACP, Newark Branch
Nurses Healing Our Planet, Delaware Nurses Association
OLLI Eco Team
Old Brandywine Village
Plastic Pollution Coalition
Progressive Democrats for Delaware
Rehoboth Beach Chamber
Sierra Club, Delaware Chapter
Students for the Environment (University of Delaware)
Surfrider Foundation, Delaware Chapter
Ten Thousand Villages, Wilmington
The 5 Gyres Institute
The Nature Conservancy, Delaware Chapter
White Clay Watershed Association
Wilmington City Council
Wilmington in Transition
Delaware Online, Delaware might be the next state to ban plastic shopping bags
Delaware 105.9 FM, New bill would seriously limit plastic bag use in Delaware
Delaware Business Now, Bill aims to end retail plastic bag use by 2021
Plastic Bags Elsewhere
Delaware Public Media, Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
With the help of more than 16 schools, church groups and many other teams and individuals, a Guinness World Record was set for the World's Largest Plastic Bag Ball!
The event brought lots of media attention to the issue and reached thousands of students, teachers, and families on issues surround plastic pollution, recycling and caring for our Earth.