Easttown Board of Supervisors passes legislation to ban single-use plastic bags

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Easttown– Yesterday, Easttown Township’s Board of  Supervisors passed ordinance 450-2022 which will take crucial steps in reducing plastic bag use in the Township. 

Through this action, Easttown becomes the seventh municipality in Pennsylvania and the third in Chester County to pass similar legislation in the growing effort to rein in single-use plastics. Ordinance 450-2022 sets strong standards for halting the sale or distribution of single-use plastic bags at Easttown’s grocery stores, pharmacies, corner stores, and other retailers. It also requires that paper bags consist of at least 40% recycled post-consumer content, puts a $0.15 fee on all other bags, and sets penalties for retailers who violate the law. 

Plastic pollution is one of the most common forms of litter, and plastic bags in particular pose a great harm to the environment. Plastic bags in our environment can choke animals, clog stormwater infrastructure exacerbating the effects of flooding or heavy rainfall, and break down into microplastics which accumulate toxic chemicals and have been found in waterways across the commonwealth. PennEnvironment estimates that Easttown residents use 4,000,000 plastic bags every year. Easattown’s ordinance is a strong first step on the path to curbing plastic waste in the Township. 

The bill is expected to go into effect in January 2023, and retailers will have the next few months as an adjustment period to transition away from plastic. 

PennEnvironment’s Zero Waste Advocate Faran Savitz issued the following statement in response to the announcement:

“We applaud the Board of Supervisors for taking this crucial step to address pollution from single-use plastic bags in Easttown. This is a major advancement in the fight to rein in the scourge of rampant plastic pollution that plagues our neighborhoods, our local parks and green spaces, and our rivers, streams, and oceans.

“Plastic bags are the poster child for the environmental harm caused by single-use plastics. Nothing we use for a few minutes, such as single-use plastic bags, should be allowed to litter our communities, pollute our environment, and fill our landfills and incinerators for hundreds of years to come. Monday’s passage of ordinance 450-2022 sends a strong message that Easttown is a leader in the effort to tackle litter and single-use plastic pollution.

“Legislation to tackle plastic bag pollution is broadly supported by Pennsylvanians, and we’ve seen the wealth of support from Easttown residents who care deeply about this issue calling for action.  With this vote, Easttown joins hundreds of cities across the nation and a growing number in Pennsylvania in implementing similar legislation. From those laws, we know that policies like ordinance 450-2022 work. By dramatically reducing the distribution, we dramatically reduce the pollution.

“Every resident has had the experience of watching plastic bags blowing down our streets and through our neighborhoods, seeing plastic bags stuck in curbside trees and bushes, or in our parks and other outdoor places we love. We’ve had enough. Since businesses haven’t taken steps to rein in the plague of plastic bags, we’re relieved that our elected officials have.

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PennEnvironment is a statewide citizen-based non-profit environmental advocacy organization working to promote clean air, clean water, and protect our open spaces. To learn more about our work to tackle the threat of single-use plastics, visit www.ZeroWaste4PA.org, or to learn more about any of our issues visit www.PennEnvironment.org

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