PLASTIC FREE DELAWARE
February 19, 2016
Wilmington City Council Endorses Statewide Bill to Address
Plastic Bag Pollution
WILMINGTON – Resolution #4168 was passed unanimously by Wilmington's City Council on February 18th. Following discussions with BringYourOwnBag Delaware and DEPPAC members regarding the blight of litter in the City and the costly impact of plastic bags on the City's stormwater systems, Councilman Bud Freel sponsored the resolution which congratulates the current state General Assembly for taking action on the issue and encourages prompt passage of House Bill 202 this Spring.
Freel noted this was a logical step for Wilmington as a leader in the recycling issue. Several council members stated that they wished the proposed bill went further, but lauded it as a good start. Councilman Williams noted that "Save-A-Lot already charges for bags and it doesn’t hurt their sales." Council President Theopalis Gregory answered a question regarding potential impact to lower income consumers by stating that “reusable bags are plentiful . . . and readily obtained for free. We all have a responsibility to protect the environment whether you are poor or not.” He added “We have had two other major movements in this country geared toward changing behavior. One was seat belts, one was cigarettes. They are examples of similar positive change created by policy and education.” Councilperson Walsh stated that “Every citizen has a responsibility and choices to make in protecting our planet. This bill gives a choice – pay 5 cents or bring my own bag. It creates an educational moment.” Especially impressive was testimony given by Wilmington Friends School sixth graders RJ Toogood, Zaire Nicholson, and Vincent Valdivieso, shown here with Councilmember Maria Cabrera.
Wilmington joins more than thirty other entities, and 1,500+ citizens, who have endorsed House Bill 202 to date. The list of co-sponsors on HB202 continues to grow. This bi-partisan bill is sponsored by Rep. Debbie Hudson, Rep. Gerald Brady, Rep. Mulrooney, Senator Harris McDowell and Senator Cathy Cloutier. Co-sponsors now include Representatives D. Short, Bentz, Jaques, Lynn, Paradee, K. Williams, and Senator Lopez. The bill places a 5 cent fee on plastic checkout bags at large Delaware retailers in order to encourage a shift to reusable bag use. HB202 is slated to be heard before the House Natural Resources Committee.
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