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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 13, 2017 12:22 PM
From: Representative Michael K. Hanna
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing a Plastic Bag Recycling Advisory Board
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation that would establish a plastic bag recycling advisory board.

Many of you are aware of states and cities around the country that have implemented bans and taxes on plastic bags to mitigate their waste and environmental impact. There have also been several attempts over the years to levy similar fees and taxes in Pennsylvania.

When confronted with reports of plastic bag pollution in this country, a few states and cities responded with bans, taxes and fees in an attempt to discourage the use and production of these bags. Unfortunately, these policies ended up costing low income families more, hurting retail businesses and quelling the efforts of companies in the waste industry that have been providing exceptional plastic bag recycling programs across the country.

Several of my constituents have contacted me to support measures that promote plastic bag recycling instead of taxing and banning. As many of you know, more than 90 percent of Americans have access to plastic bag recycling through retail take-back programs. Consumers can bring their 100 percent recyclable plastic bags and wraps to participating stores and drop them into plastic bag recycling bins. Over the years, as manufacturers have started producing more of the bags that can be returned and recycled, and as consumers have learned that they can return their recyclable plastic bags to participating stores, the rate of plastic bag, film and wrap recycling surged 74 percent since 2005. Educating the public is key in further increasing our recycling efforts.

With this in mind, my legislation establishes a plastic bag recycling advisory board composed of eight individuals including representatives of the Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, retail establishments, waste industries, plastic bag manufacturers and environmental advocates. The board would submit a report to the General Assembly after consulting with national, state and local organizations, agencies and researchers to examine plastic bag pollution, production, disposal, and the levels of plastic bag waste management in this commonwealth. My legislation aims to ensure effective cooperation and communication between the plastic bag recycling industry, governmental agencies and academic, environmental and research communities.

Please join me by cosponsoring this alternative approach to addressing plastic bag recycling in Pennsylvania. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

If you have any questions, please contact Lynette Perkins via e-mail at LMPerkins@pahouse.net or via phone at 717-772-2283.

Introduced as HB1330