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* From 2012-2014, Green Philly worked on plastic bag legislation to charge a nominal fee when giving out plastic bags. This page is an archived page from our efforts. Although we are no longer participating in plastic bag efforts with city council, we support environmental groups who are pushing this effort forward.

Green Philly Blog, Clean Air Council & 5 Gyres are working together on Common Sense Plastic Bag Legislation. What do you need to know?

What can I do to Reduce Single-Use Bag?

plastic bag on Broad St – South Philadelphia
  1. Bring your own bags
  2. Sign the petition to City Council on
  3. Contact your City Council member and ask them to push for Common sense single-use bag legislation. Not sure who your City Council representative is? Find your City Council member here to call and email them.
  4. Like the Reduce Philly Bags Facebook page to follow our Plastic Bag efforts.
  5. Upload pictures of plastic bag litter in Philadelphia on our Tumblr page.
  6. Write a letter to City Council.

 Here are the most recent updates (Updated: 6/7/13) on the plastic bag efforts, including a live broadcast on WHYY Radio Times.

Why should I care about Common Sense Plastic Bag Legislation?

Mayor Nutter pledged to make USA’s 5th largest city, Philadelphia, the greenest city in the country. Plastic bags are detrimental to the environment – clogging drains, harming wildlife and wasting petrochemicals (including creation, transportation and disposal).  Americans use approximately 100 billion each year, creating 300,000 tons of landfill waste. With 1500 plastic bags per family, Philadelphians use an estimated 861,732,000 plastic bags per year alone!

Plastic bags can’t affect wildlife that much. Right?

Thousands of wildlife die from eating or getting entangled in plastic each year.

What was the “Ban the Plastic Bag Day” on July 26th? What did you accomplish?

Green Philly Blog and over 10 other bloggers participated in “Ban the Philadelphia Plastic Bag Day” on July 26, 2012 to all share the message and our petition. Luckily, we received many signatures as well as attention from the local media on our goal to ban plastic bags.

Our next step is to rally as much citizen support as possible, so your support is crucial. Please, continue signing the petition and sharing why this plastic bag legislation is important.

Can I just recycle my plastic bags (and do, anyway.) Why do we need legislation?

An estimated under 5% of plastic bags are recycled.  Recycling 1 ton of plastic bags costs $4,000.

“Recycling” plastic bags is actually a misleading term.  Plastic bags are actually ‘downcycled’, and broken down into tiny plastic ‘flakes’ or pellets. These flakes aren’t used to make new plastic bags, but instead products like lawn chairs, crates and pipes.

Why are plastic bags so bad?

They never decompose. Plastic bags photodegrade, so they break into tiny tiny pieces and last in our atmosphere forever.

They’re either made of natural gas (who doesn’t love FRACKING??!) or have been imported from Asia, regardless of the industry’s statements that they’re an American product.

Do you support a fee or ban?

Our ultimate goal is to reduce plastic bag waste in Philadelphia and say “no” to the plastic bag (and petrochemical) industry. Currently, we are outlining ideal measures for a City Council bill. Although a plastic bag ban would be ideal, we understand a fee would also have a positive impact and will discuss both options with City Council.

I want to help. What can I do?

Who cares?

Green Philly

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