State legislature preempts cities from banning single-use plastics

In a late-night legislative move, leaders in the state General Assembly added language into a must-pass budget bill that implements a 12-month preemption, banning Pennsylvania cities and towns from implementing local policies to ban, or put fees on, single-use plastics such as plastic bags, straws, plastic foam takeout food containers or other single-use plastics plaguing our environment.

Single-use plastics, including plastic bags and plastic foam takeout food containers, have become the pollution poster children as citizens across Pennsylvania and the nation clamor for ways to address the scourge of single-use plastic pollution and litter. 

“We need to use all the tools in the toolbox to tackle the environmental threat caused by plastic pollution,” said PennEnvironment’s Stephanie Wein. “We can no longer allow something that we use for only a few minutes to pollute our environment and planet for hundreds of years.”


Photo: It will be harder for Pennsylvania cities to tackle pollution from single-use plastics given the legislature’s recently approved preemption law. Credit: Great Beyond via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0