Council Trashes Philly's Plastic Bag Ban

Plastic bags are here to stay -- at least for now. Shoppers will continue to have the usual paper or plastic option at grocery stores following a vote by the Philadelphia City Council that blocked a ban on plastic bags Thursday.

Councilman Frank DiCicco and James Kenney spent the past two years pushing for a way to cut down on litter.

The City Council Committee on the Environment unanimously approved DiCicco's legislation to ban plastic bags at stores with the exception of biodegradable plastic on June 11.

The latest vote was far from unanimous. Six council members voted in favor of the ban on plastic bags but the 10 members who voted against the measure got their way.

Councilman Frank Rizzo voted "yes" for the ban in committee but then switched to "no" for the final vote:
"It’s a matter of convenience; there are certain people who need these types of bags" Rizzo told KYW radio.

“Philadelphia City Council’s decision not to support a plastic bag ban is a step in the wrong direction for Philadelphia. These single use plastic bags will continue to litter our streets and park, fill our landfills, harm urban wildlife, clog our sewers and cost taxpayers millions of dollars” said Joseph Otis Minott, Esq., Executive Director, Clean Air Council.

Supporters of the plastic bag ban are vowing to try again in the fall. The ban was to go into affect in 2011if it was approved.

City Council did unanimously approve a measure that tightens restrictions on the sale of outdated products like over-the-counter drugs and baby food.

If the mayor signs the measure, stores in Philadelphia would be required to give full refunds if a consumer finds a product is outdated after the purchase is made. There would also be a 50-percent discount on a non-expired item of the same type to customers who discover an outdated product on a shelf before purchase.

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