Councilmember Squilla Leads Environmental Protection Effort
Philadelphia, December 12, 2019 – Legislation that will encourage reusable bags and reduce single-use plastic bags in Philadelphia received final approval today in City Council, the culmination of a decade-long effort to pass this environmental protection reform in the city.
The effort to move Bill 190610-A to reduce the use of plastic bags at retail and other stores was led by Councilmember Mark Squilla (1st District), who diligently pursued this reform to final passage after hearing from both environmentalists as well as the retail shopping industry with a wide array of views on the issue.
“Today’s passage of my ‘Bring Your Own bag’ legislation is historic for the City of Philadelphia,” Councilmember Squilla said. “It has been a long process and I am pleased to do my part to improve the environment for generations of Philadelphians to come. We need to stop being a disposable society and strive to become a re-useable society.”
“I know more work is needed to ensure retailers, large and small, have low-cost options for their customers, that will reduce litter and waste in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods,” Squilla said.
Last week, Councilmember Squilla offered an amendment that will extend the reach of the legislation to include more plastic bags than prior versions of the bill, but still keep out a fee on paper bags that some in Council objected to as a burden on lower-income consumers.
“Although fees are never desirable, studies have shown they reduce single use bags,” Councilmember Squilla said. “In the next session, I will continue working with my Council colleagues and all stakeholders on a solution that’s best for our City’s environment.”
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Photo: Advocates for the “Bring Your Own Bag” Bill testified before Council earlier this year on the harms of single-use plastic bags. Jared Piper/PHLCouncil