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Sustainability Advisory Committee

Posted on: November 15, 2021

Single-Use Plastic Bags and Straws: Plastic Is Not So Fantastic


How many times have you seen a single-use plastic bag blowing in the wind or stuck in a tree or clogging a storm drain into which it has been washed?  Single-use plastic litter is not just a local problem.  These single-use bags, along with other plastic wastes, are washing up on small islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Single use plastics are entangling wildlife and gumming up the equipment that processes the recyclable waste picked up by trash removal contractors.  As a nation, we use and discard approximately 100 billion single-use plastic carryout bags and probably as many plastic straws each year.  This material does not decompose for decades or even centuries but instead builds up in the environment.

To address this issue, the Township board of supervisors reviewed a draft plastic bag ban ordinance at the November 16 meeting.  Following advertisement of the ordinance and a period for public review and comment, the board will vote on it at the December 21 meeting. 

If the ordinance is approved, then at the end of a six-month grace period all bags at grocery and retail stores must be either reusable or be made of recyclable or decomposable materials, as will straws.  The Township is already working with the business community to discuss the measure and smooth the transition to a reusable and recyclable future.

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