Philly's Got a Brand New Bag

Say goodbye to your plastic bags, shoppers. The Philadelphia City Council's environmental committee voted to ban plastic bags at all stores starting in 2011, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Councilman Frank DiCicco and James Kenney  first proposed the measure in 2007 as 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 Thursday.

“We agreed it would be a total ban but would no take effect until July 1, 2011 [to] give people a couple years to adjust themselves and time for the stores to reduce their stock,” DiCicco told the Metro.

The ban requires stores to replace plastic bags with recyclable paper bags, compostable plastic bags or reusable bags. The final voting of the bill is expected to be Thursday, June 18.

Philadelphia would be the largest U.S. city with such a ban, said DiCicco's office. Other cities like San Francisco charge a fee for using plastic bags that will not be the case in Philly.

The previous proposal would have charged shoppers 25 cents for every plastic bag. But DiCiccio pulled back on the legislation after his colleagues, led by Curtis Jones Jr., had concerned that would impact low-income shoppers, according to the Daily News.

“On all sides, it was intense,” said Jones. “But at the end of the day, we make decision based on what is the best public policy,” he told the Daily News.

The alternative, the paper bag, has some advocates worried because it can do more harm to the environment.

“Paper bags weigh 10 times as much as plastic bags, so it takes that much more energy to make them and transport them,” said Christman. “And studies show plastic bags make up [only] 1 percent of municipal waste,” he told the Metro.

 The paper or plastic phrase in your grocery stores will be a thing in the past come 2011.

Contact Us