Local students and community members gathered at the Queen Anne’s County Council meeting last week to address the pressing issue of single-use plastic pollution. Genevieve Henrietta, a junior at Kent Island High School and an environmental advocate, submitted a petition with 65 signatures supporting the elimination of single-use plastic bags in the county.
Henrietta, a student leader with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and a regular volunteer with Kent Island Beach Cleanups, spoke passionately about her experiences with plastic pollution along the shores and wetland areas of the Chesapeake Bay.
Bente Cooney, a representative of Plastic Free QAC, highlighted several Maryland jurisdictions who have already enacted similar bans, including Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Chestertown, College Park, Easton, Howard County, Laurel, Montgomery County, Salisbury, Takoma Park, and Westminster. Next week, Prince George’s County is set to pass a similar bill, while other municipalities like Hyattsville, Greenbelt, Frederick City, and Annapolis are also considering or drafting legislation. Centreville is expected to introduce a similar proposal in May.
The proposed ban targets single-use plastic carryout bags typically provided by grocery stores and other retailers. Certain exceptions would be allowed, such as bags for meat, fish, and other items that require plastic packaging. The proposal does not affect other single-use plastics, such as straws or cups in restaurants.
To encourage consumers to bring their reusable bags, the proposed legislation would require retailers to charge a 10-cent fee for each paper bag. The fee would go directly to the retailers, with no tax implications. The hope is that the fee will serve as a reminder for customers to bring reusable bags and ultimately reduce the consumption of single-use bags.
Queen Anne County’s consideration of a plastic bag ban reflects the growing awareness and desire for environmental sustainability across Maryland.
This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Plastic Free QAC please go here.
Letters to Editor
Linda Hamilton says
What single use bags are being spoken of here? Not the plastic bags from the grocery store? Those bags are reused under the bathroom sink, to pick up a dog’s droppings, to remove the litter from the litter box, to carry home a wet bathing suit, to deliver a product to a neighbor. Single use bags are the bags for the kitchen trash can, the dry cleaners, the post office OS packages, the leaf bags, the see-through covering on meats and chicken, etc. Oh wait, we are not talking about eliminating those bags; only the bags that are not single use. (U of Arizona did a study that showed these ‘single use’ bags are recycled 77% of the time). This is the perfect example of mom’s admonition: just because everyone else is jumping off a cliff, are you going to do that too?
By the way, walmart has paper bags without handles making them very awkward, but is offering their own bags for 99 cents, while target is offering paper bags (with their logo) that are seen strewn on the sidewalk and certainly not being recycled. Paper bags get wet and are no longer of any use. Target, too, is offering their own ‘reusable’ bags starting at $2.99. And where are all these single use paper bags coming from? Oh yes, trees are being cut down each and every day for the paper bags. Again, listen to mom. There’s the cliff.
Jed St. Landau says
“Every year, Americans reportedly throw away 100 billion plastic grocery bags. (WorldWatch Institute) Approximately only 1-3% of plastic bags are recycled every year. Millions of dollar per state are spent to properly recycle or dispose plastic bags.”
I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, I’d love to see a link to this study you referenced. Plastic bags are overwhelming not recycled and there are way more of them than dry cleaner bags, or any of the other plastics you mentioned. How many of them are you actually repurposing at home? Be honest… I recycle as much as possible, but have multiple balls of them in my home.
Yes, paper bags are made from trees, but they’re a renewable resource and and the proposed legislation is obviously targeted at using reusable bags over paper bags.
As alternatives become available, I’d love to see all plastics make their way out of our lives! But that isn’t the case, yet! We do have an easy alternative to plastic grocery bags and all it takes is you remembering to grab them on your way to the store!