On the strengthened plastic bag law that went into effect on July 1, 2022:
“The Sanitation guys are thrilled! They are seeing much less recycling contamination. And street cleaning guys have noticed a big difference in the litter control. It has definitely made an impact. Keep up the good work!!”
In September 2021, following the first plastic bag legislation effective date (1/1/21):
“The plastic bag legislation has been the most impactful thing ever in the City as far as trash goes, just the best thing ever. I am a huge fan of what Plastic Free Delaware is achieving.”
- Kelly Williams,
City of Wilmington, Director of Public Works
Our partner, the Delaware Surfrider Chapter reports:
Expanded Polystyrene is some particularly nasty stuff. It's a foam plastic made from toxic petrochemicals including benzene. It is not biodegradable nor compostable. Instead, it crumbles or photodegrades, breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic microplastic pieces, making it impossible to fully clean up once it is thrown away and escapes into our environment, and allowing it to easily migrate into our food chain and water supplies.
Polystyrene Foam is not accepted in curbside recycling. It's already banned in several other states including neighboring Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and D.C. because it's so harmful to our health and our environment.
Expanded Polystyrene foam is a human health & environmental justice issue. During the manufacturing process, workers exposed to styrene monomers have an increased risk of lymphoma, leukemia, and other forms of cancer. The industry ranks as the 5th largest creator of toxic wastes in the USA and these risks are especially prevalent in fenceline communities.
Expanded Polystyrene foam contributes to climate change. Single use plastic is derived from fossil fuel extraction and refining processes of oil and natural gas.
Polystyrene foam also makes its way into our storm drains and our waterways. It pollutes our environment, harms animals, and increases cleanup costs. Once in the water it will absorb 10 times more pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals than other kinds of plastic, increasing toxin exposure to fish and other aquatic animals and on up the food chain.
Safer and more sustainable alternatives are readily available. It’s time to get polystyrene foam out of Delaware once and for all.
CLICK BELOW to write to your Delaware State Representative today to ask them to protect us from expanded polystyrene by supporting a Senate Substitute 1 to Senate Bill 134 which was passed by the Delaware Senate on June 9th.
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 released from the House Economic Development Committee and awaits a House floor vote. 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.
September 30, 2021
In June, House Bill 212, as amended, was passed by the Delaware State House and Senate. Special thanks are extended to the primary sponsors and leaders on the legislation, Rep. Gerald Brady, Rep. Valerie Longhurst, Rep. Eric Morrison, and Senator Kyle Gay. Governor John Carney signed HB212 into law on September 30, 2021.
HB212 closes the inadvertent loophole created when 2019's HB130 law which went into effect on January 1st allowing plastic bags greater than 2.25 mils thick. It now clarifies the definition of truly reusable bags, largely by the definition including requisite “stitched handles” following the model set by neighboring New Jersey. HB212 also expands the law to all size stores and not just the largest retailers. It will take effect July 1, 2022.
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.
2021 - House Bill 212
Passed by both the House and Senate in June 2021, and signed by the Governor in September 2021. Redefines allowable reusable bags as having stitched handles and expands law to all stores. Effective date 7/1/2022.
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 led 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.
CONTACT INFO FOR YOUR DELAWARE STATE ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES
CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES
Senator Christopher Coons
Contact Via Web Form
383 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5042
Fax: (202) 228-3075
Main District Office:
1105 N. Market St., Ste. 2000
Wilmington, DE 19801-1233
Phone: (302) 573-6345
Fax: (302) 573-6351
Senator Tom Carper
Contact Via Web Form
513 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0801
Phone: (202) 224-2441
Fax: (202) 228-2190
Main District Office:
2215 Federal Bldg., 300 S. New St.
Dover, DE 19904
Phone: (302) 674-3308
Fax: (302) 674-5464
U.S. Congressional Representative
Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester
Contact Via Web Form
1123 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4165
Fax: (202) 225-0011
Main District Office:
1105 North Walnut Street, Suite 400
Wilmington, DE 19801