Delaware House Bill 22 was pre-filed in December 2020 to be worked in the coming 2021 Delaware legislative session. It is a bi-partisan bill under Prime Sponsor Ruth Briggs King. HB22 was assigned to the House Economic Development Committee and is expected to be on the agenda there in March.. Once enacted, the Right to Repair bill will serve to support small businesses in Delaware and provide local skilled jobs, while reducing the amount of electronics that prematurely become landfill fodder, and reducing carbon emissions by increasing the longevity of consumer products.
Right to Repair Talking Points
Right to Repair is legislation that would…
Right to Repair is critical to waste prevention:
If consumers had the right to repair their devices, the reuse of devices would reduce demand for natural resources.
Right to Repair would help mitigate climate change by reducing the energy consumed in the manufacturing phase of production.
Right to Repair would reduce the flow of toxic waste into landfills and incinerators.
Electronics recycling has not alleviated the problem of e-waste.
While informal recycling of e-waste recycling has been linked to increased cases of cancer and other illness, even formal e-waste recycling can lead to increased exposure to health-threatening toxic metals.
Senate Bill 24, to clarify that balloon releases are a form of illegal littering, was introduced in January 2021 by prime sponsors Senator Stephanie Hansen and Representative Deb Heffernan.
It mirrors SB208 which was introduced in 2020 and made it through Senate committee before being waylaid by Covid-19. Accompanied by testimony by Plastic Free Delaware representatives, the League of Women Voters Delaware, Delaware Audubon Society, and DNREC, it was successfully passed out of the Senate Health and Social Services Committee.
This year, SB224 is anticipated to be heard in Senate committee in March 2021.
Thanks to a decade of advocacy by Plastic Free Delaware and many other volunteers, as well as the leadership of State Rep. Valerie Longhurst, Rep. Gerald Brady, and Sen. Trey Paradee, as of January 1, 2021, "single use" plastic carryout bags less than 2.25 mls thick cannot be sold or distributed by large retailers in Delaware. Large retailers must also continue to offer the recycling bins for plastic bags and film as despite the new law these will not evaporate from our lives.
2019 - House Bill 130
Passed and signed into law, making Delaware the fourth state in the U.S. to pass a law to address plastic bag pollution. Went into effect 1/1/2021. The new law impacts large retailers (more than 7,000 sq.ft or ones with three or more locations of 3,000 sq.ft. or more). Only addresses thin plastic bags less than 2.25 mls thick. Time will tell if this new law significantly addresses the problem, or if it needs to be strengthened further.
Made the current law regarding recycling bins at large retailers permanent (deleted the sunset clause), and added a reporting requirement for large retailers to report annually the # of single-use carryout bags they distribute.
2015-2016 - House Bill 202 (DID NOT PASS)
Would have placed a 5 cent fee on plastic carryout bags at large retailers. Had widespread bipartisan support. Passed House Natural Resources Committee unanimously.
Extended Sunset for 2009 law for three more years
On August 17, 2009, Delaware’s Governor Jack Markell signed a new law that was aimed at promoting the recycling of plastic bags across the state. It created requirements for large retailers (7,000 sq.ft. or those with three or more locations of 3,000 sq.ft or more) to provide recycling bins for plastic carryout bags and plastic film in prominent locations, and educational signage. Championed by Rep. Valerie Longhurst, the law went into effect on December 1st, 2009. Stores were also required to provide reusable bags for purchase and include a message encouraging customers to recycle their plastic bags. With this, Delaware was the third state to pass a mandatory plastic bag recycling program, behind California and New York. Yet over the subsequent years, plastic bags continued to cover our landscapes, pollute our watersheds, clog our storm water systems and our recycling facilities, causing blight in our communities, added taxpayer expense, and delay/expense in our recycling system.
2009 - Legislation by Rep. Valerie Longhurst established the at-store plastic bag and film recycling program.
It is estimated that more than 54% of the world's population is now covered under laws either completely banning plastic bag or laws placing fees on bags which greatly reduces their use but provides shoppers options and simply externalizes an existing cost.
In the U.S., California has passed a statewide law and Hawaii is fully covered by county laws. Several other states are considering laws. Many other counties and cities also have laws banning or placing fees on single use plastic bags, including Washington D.C., Boston and Chicago.