Record Observer

Time to ban single-use plastic bags in Maryland

- BENTE COONEY, Founder, Plastic Free QAC Grasonvill­e

During the current legislativ­e session, the Maryland General Assembly is considerin­g a bill to ban single-use plastic bags. The bill almost passed last year, but due to the COVID pandemic the legislativ­e session ended early without a final vote. Chestertow­n has had such a ban in place since 2012, and Delaware implemente­d its ban on Jan. 1. It is time that Maryland joins the growing list of states banning singleuse plastic bags.

Legislator­s are mindful that businesses have struggled during the pandemic. However, if passed, the bill would not go into effect until July 2022, when hopefully the economy will be in an upswing and COVID-19 is behind us. In 2019, nearly 100 surveyed businesses in Queen Anne’s County were dismayed at the sight of plastic bags littering roadways, fields and our beautiful Bay. Each of them said they would support a ban on single-use plastic bags.

In summary, 15 billion tons of plastic goes into our oceans every year, and plastic bags are a major culprit. Marylander­s alone use 2 billion plastic bags a year. More than 75% of Maryland residents use plastic bags, yet only 5% of bags are recycled. It is time that Maryland says no to single-use plastic bags, and joins Chestertow­n and the 500 other locations around the country that have already banned these bags.

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