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Plastic Bags in Philly Update: Tune into Radio Times Today!

Plastic Bags in Philly Update: Tune into Radio Times Today!

plastic bag society hill, philadelphiaHate plastic bags getting caught in trees and littering our streets? We have great news to share:

Logan Welde, Staff Attorney of the Clean Air Council will be on WHYY Radio Times (90.9 FM)  to discuss plastic bags and our proposed legislation, today from 11 AM – 12 PM. I’ve been working with Logan for almost a year on these efforts (like at Greenfest 2012) and he is a passionate, intelligent guy. It will be a great broadcast. Inquirer columnist Sandy Bauers also published our open letter to City Council this morning to coincide.

Logan will be debating Hilex Poly, which is the biggest plastic bag manufacturer in the US (and a part of the American Progressive Bag Alliance).

Many people have been asking: So what has been going on with plastic bags?

We held a “Ban the Bag” day last July to get the conversation started on plastic bags again. 10 bloggers in Philly all wrote about the same issue: plastic bags littering our streets.

We’ve been meeting with a City Council member to discuss common sense single-use bag legislation. Although we initially pushed for a plastic bag ban, we want to give people a choice if they pay for a single use bag OR can bring their own reusable bag. Consumers pay for plastic bags currently, but the cost is hidden within grocery bills. If we move the fee upfront, it will give customers the right to choose.

Plastic-Free Beth Terry has gone to extremes to avoid plastic , but “plastic” is here to stay regardless. Whether dog owners want to t-shirt bags at checkout or not, there’s still plenty of plastic bags that come wrapped around our bread, produce or practically any other grocery item. Plastic is (unfortunately) forever, as it photodegrades (instead of biodegrades) and turns into tiny, tiny pieces.

Plastic bag on Broad St – South Philadelphia

I ran into Mayor Michael Nutter in January for a Philadelphia 2035 meeting and told him about our efforts. As Nutter replied, “Plastic bags are entirely disposable, last forever, and clutter our streets… I’d be interested to see what City Council comes up with.

I was also on the Green Divas Radio program yesterday discussing plastic bag legislation in Philadelphia as well. The link should be up today with the podcast (but is not up as of publication time)

We’ve drafted legislation for how we’d like the bill to look and are waiting for City Council to introduce it. However, we need help (and public support) in order to continue to move things forward.

How can YOU help push common sense plastic bag legislation?

  • Call into the Radio Times broadcast today at 1-888-477-WHYY (1-888-477-9499) and say what a great idea it would be to clean up Philly and partially fund the schools…all with a small fee on single-use bags.
  • Call Councilman Squilla’s office and ask him to introduce the legislation, especially right after the interview.
  • Call and email your City Council member (find your rep & contact info here) to let them know you want to see plastic bag legislation to reduce the amount of single-use bags we use each year. (Over 800 million in Philadelphia alone.)
  • Sign the petition here.
  • Share the petition and initiative with your friends, physically or virtually.

Unsure if Philadelphia has a plastic bag and litter problem? Check this slide show with plastic bags around the city:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher
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