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Delaware lawmaker introduces legislation to ban plastic bags

Delaware Public Media

Delaware could join California, New York and Hawaii in implementing a statewide ban on plastic bags.

State Rep. Gerald Brady (D-Wilmington) is sponsoring legislation that would bar certain stores and chains from giving out single use plastic bags.

The ban would be limited to large stores with more than 7,000 square feet of retail sales space and chains with three or more locations and at least 3,000 square feet of retail sales space.

The bill has some exceptions for bags for produce, meat, fish, plants and dry cleaning.

Brady said retailers are on board, if not enthusiastic about the bill.

“They’re at the moment just hoping like all of us that there’s a quick and easy solution," he said. "So, they’ll see it to the end with us, but they’re not jumping up and down at this moment.”

State Rep. Richard Collins (R-Millsboro) said he doesn’t like government mandates. But he said he’ll probably support it along with many of his fellow Republicans.

“There’s no way in the world I’d bring the bill," he said. "My name’s not listed on as a sponsor and it’s not going to be. But at some point, you have to deal with reality. We have plenty of legislators, a majority, who feel new rules on citizens are not a bad thing.”

The ban wouldn’t take effect until 2021. Brady said his bill builds on the 2009 law that required stores to have recycling bins and reduced some plastic bag use.

Brady said people don’t recycle the bags at a rate similar to other plastic items. He and Collins agree the bags are a big source of outdoor litter.

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