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Solebury bans single-use plastic grocery bags

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Solebury has had it with single-use carry-out plastic bags and is not going to take their environmental degradation any more.

To that end, the board of supervisors on Tuesday banned the use of free store-provided plastic grocery bags and set fines for violations.

The board gave a 90-day notice to township supermarkets and stores that they will first be warned, but after that they will be fined $250 for the first violation of providing free plastic bags.

Further violations within 12 months will cost them up to $500 each.

The ordinance, passed unanimously, notes the township may file lawsuits to restrain, prevent or abate a violation, with the cost of the suit to be recoverable from the store.

The ban does not include produce bags (for fish, nuts, grains, etc.), laundry or dry-cleaner bags, or bags containing newspapers for home delivery.

As for customers, they can pay 10-cents each for a store’s recyclable paper bags or they can use their own reusable bags.

After 180 days, commercial establishments will be banned from providing single-use plastic straws or Polystyrene food containers. This does not apply to containers that hold many straws or containers or items ultimately sold to consumers for home or business use.

John DeAndrea, associate member of the township Planning Commission, unsuccessfully suggested the ordinance be tabled because it did not ban use of plastic bottles and containers.

In other business, at the suggestion of Michele Blood, assistant manager, the board voted unanimously to create a separate Operating Reserve Fund.

Chair Mark Baum Baicker said the fund would “minimize future revenue shortfalls and deficits, provide greater continuity and predictability in the funding of vital government service, minimize the need to increase taxes to balance the budget in times of fiscal distress, provide the capacity to undertake long-range financial planning and develop fiscal resources to meet long-term needs.”

Blood said recent tax revenue has been better than usual and that such a fund “helps us prepare for the future.” She noted that only 5% of the general fund can be used for the Operating Reserve Fund.


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