Statement: Maryland legislature drops ball by failing to pass Plastic Bag Reduction Act

Media Contacts
Mariah MacKenzie

Environment Maryland

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland legislature wrapped up it’s 2021 session on Monday without passing the Plastic Bag Reduction Act. The bill would have stopped retailers from distributing single-use plastic bags starting in July 2022. The House version of the legislation, HB314, was sponsored by Del. Brooke Lierman and moved through the  Maryland House of Delegates in March. But the act never received a vote in the state Senate. The companion Senate bill, SB223, was sponsored by Sen. Malcolm Augustine. 

In response, Environment Maryland  and Maryland PIRG issued the following statements:

“Eight states across the country have banned single-use plastic bags — a move that has done tremendous good in combating plastic pollution and moving consumers to reusable options,”  Environment Maryland Associate Mariah Mackenzie said. “Sadly, Maryland still isn’t one of those state’s because our Senate chose not to pass this bill. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the plastic pollution crisis, and the Plastic Bag Reduction Act could have greatly reduced the amount of this persistent pollutant from entering our landfills, incinerators and waterways. Despite the setback, Environment Maryland will continue educating our communities, organizing grassroots support, and talking to legislators about the need to protect our communities from plastic pollution.”

“Plastic bags are virtually unrecyclable, and there’s no way to dispose of them that doesn’t harm our health and our environment,” Maryland PIRG director Emily Scarr said. “The time to stop using single use plastic bags is not next year nor next week, it’s today. While the Maryland Senate has failed to act, we’re grateful so many municipalities have banned plastic bags on their own, and we hope more do so quickly.”

Environment Maryland is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. We work to protect clean air, clean water, and open space.

Maryland PIRG is a state based, non-partisan, citizen funded public interest advocacy organization with grassroots members across the state.
Maryland PIRG’s role is to find common ground around commonsense solutions that will make our future healthier, safer and more secure.