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Doylestown Township to ban single-use plastic bags


Like several communities across the region, Doylestown Township officials would like to curb its residents’ reliance on single-use plastic bags.

The township supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday in favor of banning them. Nancy Santacecilia cast the lone dissenting vote, voicing opposition to the 5 cent fee businesses would be required to charge for a recycled or reusable bag, if one is needed.

Modeled after similar ordinances, including one in neighboring Doylestown Borough, the law will prohibit the use of the ubiquitous bags and non-recycled paper bags at retail stores.

There are a number of exemptions in the township’s ban. Package bulk items, such as produce, nuts, candy or grains, bags for meats, seafood, prepared foods or bakery items are excluded, as are bags used to contain live animals sold at pet stores, bags sold together in packaging by a manufacturer, laundry and dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, according to the ordinance.

“Non-handled bags used to prevent a purchased item from damaging or contaminating other purchased items,” are allowed.

Curbing single-use plastic bags is widely considered effective in reducing litter, protecting waterways and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2019, Pennsylvania legislators placed a now-expired moratorium on bans that effectively blocked towns and cities from implementing such ordinances.

Since then, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, West Chester and other municipalities, including Newtown and Solebury townships, have passed bans on single-use plastic bags.

Some have also banned plastic straws and plastic utensils. The state of New Jersey prohibits single-use plastics in a variety of uses.

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