2-cent fee proposed for single-use plastic bags in Pennsylvania | TribLIVE.com
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2-cent fee proposed for single-use plastic bags in Pennsylvania

Mary Ann Thomas
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Single-use plastic bag pollution prompted a recent proposal for a 2-cent fee on plastic bags used by large stores.

Earlier this month, PennEnvironment joined forces with Pennsylvania House Democrats to announce its “Zero Waste PA” package of 13 bills looking to tackle a number of litter and pollution problems.

According to PennLive, the proposals range from “creating a 5-cent beverage bottle and can deposit program and raising fines for littering to restricting the availability of plastic straws and charging a 2-cent fee for a non-reusable plastic bag.”

The 2-cent fee on a single-use plastic bag was proposed by two Philadelphia Democrats, state Reps. Brian Sims and Jared Solomon. The fee would apply to stores grossing more than $1 million annually.

“I don’t think that many people like plastic bags,” Solomon told PennLive. “It’s kind of become the modern-day tumbleweed and we need to do better to eradicate our communities of this item.”

California, New York and Hawaii have passed plastic bags bans, and a number of major cities have bans or charge a fee including Boston, Chicago, Seattle and Washington D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In 2017, a bill keeping local government officials from banning or taxing single-use plastic bags cleared the Pennsylvania Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

“It’s another instance where the Commonwealth is wrestling local control away from local governments, telling them what they can and can’t do,” Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, told the Tribune-Review.

“Our members think this is a serious environmental issue, … and local communities should decide what’s in their best interest,” Costa said.

PennEnvironment Executive Director David Masur admitted that it will be an uphill battle for the “Zero Waste PA” proposals in the GOP-controlled state House.

“But at least it could get the conversation started,” he said.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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