DOVER, De. – Goodbye 2020, and goodbye plastic bags. Single use plastic bags will now be a rare sight in Delaware.
Under the new law, stores larger than 7,000 square feet and smaller stores with at least three locations in Delaware of 3,000 square feet or more can no longer offer single use plastic bags.
Restaurants are not subject to the ban, nor are small stores with one or two locations.
The ban aims to reduce beach and roadside litter, save landfill space, increase recycling efforts and help recycling facilities from having to shut down when plastic bags get stuck in machinery.
“Everything is convenience. We are busy people, we do everything based on ‘what is the fastest, best way for me to do it. And sometimes that’s not always the best for the environment. If we want to leave something good behind for our kids, we have to start rethinking how we do these things. So bags are one of the first ways we can do this,” explained Adam Schlachter, program manager of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Pollution Prevention Program.
So what do you do if you have a ton of left over single use plastic bags?
“As part of this law, we are expanding the potential for the at-store plastic bag recycling side of things. So if people have more bags than they are really ever going to use, absolutely bring them back to the store and recycle them,” said Schlachter.
As for consumers we spoke to at the Dover Redners, they don’t seem to mind the change.
“That’s fine, I don’t care. I’ll just figure out how to do without. I mean it’s not that much of a nuisance,” said Larry Gabbert of Dover.
Edward Quinn, also of Dover, agreed. “Well it’s a good idea to take away the plastic, you can see the mess plastic is making, it makes a mess. I think you might as well, get people used to it.”
DNREC estimates that each Delawarean uses about 434 plastic bags a year, and that nearly 2,400 tons of plastic bags from Delaware ends up in landfills each year.
For more information on the plastic bag ban, click here.