Pennsylvania starting to make moves on plastic bag bans
Regional grocery chains Giant Eagle and Shop ’n Save are starting to get their feet wet in the anti-plastic bag movement — an initiative Kroger recently took by storm after vowing to eliminate the single-use plastic from their stores by 2025.
Each year, more than 380 billion plastic bags and wraps are used in the United States, requiring 12 million barrels of oil to make, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But only 5% of plastics are recycled, the agency said.
Over the next few weeks and months, officials at Giant Eagle expect to take a stance on the topic, said spokesman Dan Donovan, who could not provide further details. The Pittsburgh-based grocery chain recycles 3 million pounds of plastic film annually from stores that have recycling bins, Donovan said.
At Shop ’n Save, further details about any plastic bag bans were not available, but spokeswoman Samantha Bell said paper bags are offered as an alternative and individual store owners are “always looking for ways to positively impact communities.”
“A lot of municipalities are taking leads … but what we want to do is actually be a part and lead that with them versus waiting to be told,” Donovan said, adding that several municipalities and states are making decisions on plastic bans.
Communities in Washington, South Carolina, Texas, Rhode Island and Oregon passed bans on plastic utensils and plastic bags, according to Forbes. One Pennsylvania borough — Narberth in Montgomery County — became the first municipality in the state to pass plastic straw and bag restrictions, according to WCAU, a Philadelphia news station.
A number of bills proposed in the Pennsylvania House, known as Zero Waste PA, aim to address straws, plastic bags and Styrofoam takeout food containers, along with electronic waste.
Included in the proposed bills are increasing a recycling fee paid by landfill operators, establishing a cigarette filter upcycling initiative and creating a 5-cent beverage bottle and can deposit program. Most of the bills are collecting co-sponsorship before they can move forward.
Cincinnati-based Kroger’s decision to eliminate plastic bags has caused people to call on other grocery stores, such as Florida-based Publix, to consider plastic bans. Kroger goes through 6 billion plastic bags annually.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .