One-use plastic bag ban now in effect

It’s now the law. One-use plastic bags are going away at many retailers under a new law that went into effect on Jan. 1.

There had been calls to delay the law, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, with one-year notice, the law went into effect on New Year’s Day.

Eight states and a number of cities have plastic bag legislation in place.

That means shoppers will have to remember to bring reusable bags to chain stores.

According to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Delaware residents use about 434 bags per person, adding up to 2,400 tons of plastic bags, with little recycling taking place.

The bags also clog up recycling equipment

Plastic carryout bags are also a problem. The bags wrap around equipment and cause the recycling facility to be shut down while they are removed.

Still, allowed are a thicker type of plastic bag that can be used more than once. Stores are allowed to charge for the bags.

DNREC says consumers should wash or disinfect their reusable bags by turning them inside out and wiping them down with a disinfecting agent after each use.

Supermarkets and big-box stores, and convenience store chains are required to provide a recycling program for plastic bags and some other plastic materials, like cereal box liners, newspaper sleeves and produce bags.

The drop-off locations should be visible and accessible within the store. Bags that are no longer reusable or unwanted should be recycled according to the guidance provided at these locations. Plastic bags should not be placed in carts that are part of the state’s curbside recycling program. Instead, return them to stores for recycling.


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