Del. Plastic Bag Ban Loophole Addressed In New Bill

What’s called a loophole in Delaware’s five-month old ban on single-use plastic bags at many establishments would be addressed under a measure filed in the Delaware General Assembly.

Some stores, in doing away with the thinner plastic bags, introduced slightly thicker plastic bags for customers. Now, Representatives Gerald Brady, D-Wilmington and Eric Morrison, D-Glasgow along with Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear have introduced a bill (HB 212) that would increase the minimum thickness for a bag to qualify as reusable from 2.25-mils to 10-mils effective next year.

According to Brady, the spirit of the law was being violated and the thicker bags were becoming a pollution problem like the thinner bags.

“Shortly after the implementation of the state’s prohibition on single-use plastic bags, we realized the law of unintended consequences was occurring. We immediately received complaints from constituents, that new, thicker plastic bags were being provided by several stores. This practice was in clear violation of the spirit of the bill and our intent,” Brady said. “Unfortunately, the thicker bags only compounded the threat on our environment. It became apparent that further steps would be required to reduce the use of plastic bags, thus protecting our ecosystem, cleaning up our communities and purifying our watersheds.  

“Like many of my constituents and other Delawareans, I’m very happy that we are taking this final step to ban plastic bags in Delaware. Plastic bags are unnecessary and contribute greatly to waste and to litter problems,” Morrison added. “The thicker plastic bags we are seeing now in some stores are very bad for the environment. I look forward to passing this landmark legislation, which builds upon the original law and moves us even closer to our goal of a plastic-free Delaware.” 

The new bill also describes a reusable bag stating that it must be made of polypropylene fabric or other certain materials, must have stitched handles, must be designed to be used at least 125 times and must have a capacity of at least four gallons.