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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 13, 2017 03:56 PM
From: Senator Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: Plastic Bag Use in Pennsylvania
In the near future, I will be re-introducing a bill which will impose a fee on the use of plastic bags in retail stores. These plastic bags are lightweight and inexpensive. But they have the disadvantage of lasting until the end of time. This creates significant environmental problems in a number of areas. They fill up landfills and since they are non-bio-degradable, they will be there forever. They also stay wherever they are dropped including the sides of streets, parks, waterways, etc. Animals and fish often get entangled in these bags leading to their injury or death.

When we were all growing up every grocery store used degradable paper bags. Life was good back then. In recent years a number of states and cities have either imposed a fee on the plastic bags such as I am proposing, or banned them entirely. The bill I am proposing imposes an excise on the use of plastic bags in retail stores. Only retail establishments that gross in excess of $1,000,000 during the previous tax year will be subject to this bill. Every store would pay a fee equal to .02 cents per plastic carryout bag provided to customers during the tax year. 50% of all sums collected from the fee shall be returned to the store, for the purposes of improving recycling practices. 50% would be credited to the Commonwealth for related services which promote recycling.

If you have questions about this legislation, please contact my Legislative Director, Jon Tew at jtew@pasenate.com or 610-768-4200.

Introduced as SB294