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Doylestown Borough pitches plastic control campaign

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“Doylestown Ditches Disposables Campaign” has begun.

The initiative was launched last week, during a movie screening of “Bag It,” a documentary detailing the severe global impact of plastics. The Doylestown program’s goals are to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags and straws, educate people about the tremendous harm caused by single-use plastics and create awareness of substitutions for plastics.

Joe Wallace, chairman of the borough’s environmental advisory committee, told the approximately 70 people gathered at the County Theater that education is key to driving cultural change.

“A lot of us are well-intentioned,” said Wallace, but, he cautioned, it’s important to “avoid judgement and finger-wagging.” Instead, a positive, community focus on a “more sustainable future … coming together to do something good for our town and the environment” is more valuable.

A survey of local businesses and residents last year, found 70 percent of respondents supported a ban on single-use plastic bags and straws in the borough, said Wendy Margolis, a member of Doylestown Borough Council and chair of its environmental and recreation committee. An ordinance was drafted to charge 10 cents for those who want a single-use plastic bag and to ban the use of plastic straws, except for those with disabilities. The revenue from the bag fee would go to the businesses. However, the ordinance was stymied by a statewide, yearlong moratorium on local laws imposing restrictions on plastic bags and straws.

The moratorium is expected to end in June, although, Margolis said, that remains uncertain. The borough, she added, is preparing a more detailed ordinance, should the moratorium end.

“Bag It,” made by Jeb Berrier in 2010, shows a planet awash in plastic bags that are causing enormous harm to the environment and all life on Earth. A decade ago, the world was using 1 trillion plastic bags each minute, according to the film.

“If everyone saw this movie,” said a child during a question and answer period after the screening, “they’d stop using plastic bags and there would be a ban.”

Wallace said, the EAC will be back at the borough’s farmer’s market in the spring collecting plastic bags that can be repurposed in the form of Trex, and used to make benches.


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