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Plastic bag fee bill lifted out of committee

Delaware Public Media

You may soon have to pay five cents for each plastic shopping bag you use at a store under a bill pass by a House committee Wednesday.

Supporters of the measure packed the committee room, arguing that failing to disincentivize bags now will even further erode environmental stability in the future.

“We see them in the trees, we see them in the streams, so it’s time to just stop getting them at the store. Bring your own bag. Don’t take the plastic bags," said House Minority Whip Deborah Hudson (R-Fairthorne)

Dozens spoke out in favor of the proposal, saying it would do wonders to help de-clog streams and storm drains and prevent further environmental problems.

Hudson, says testimony showing the real world effects these bags have was crucial to getting the bill released.

“It has to have sunlight to degrade the bags and it takes 10 to 20 years and that was a strong statement. I think it was sinking into the legislators that this is a real problem,” she said.

"These bags are a menace to our environment and the only thing that could make this bill better is if we just ban plastic bags altogether," said Rep. Trey Paradee (D-Cheswold), vowing his support for the bill.

Some on the committee were less enthusiastic about the implications for low-income families.

Others were concerned about a provision allowing each store to pocket the five-cent price tag for each bag instead of diverting it toward a state recycling fund.

The bill now heads to the full House, but it’s unclear whether democratic leadership will put it on the agenda.

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