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Solebury wants state to regulate use of plastics


Solebury Township wants the state to regulate and reduce the use of plastic bags and their ilk and, at the very least, allow the township to set its own standards in dealing with them.

The board of supervisors on Tuesday, July 16, unanimously passed a resolution to that effect, which will be forwarded to the state.

Recently the township’s Environmental Advisory Council developed its own proposed ordinance that would have banned certain items such as plastic shopping bags that cannot be recycled for other uses.

That was sent to the supervisors a month ago for its review, said Supervisor Kevin Morrissey, liaison to the Environmental Advisor Council.

That, however, was before the state passed a law forbidding municipalities from enacting their own plastics ban until the state studies the issue.

Under that state law signed June 28 by Gov. Tom Wolf, the Independent Fiscal Office will evaluate the impact on industry and consumers of any regulation impacting single-use plastics, reusable plastics, auxiliary containers, wrappings or polystyrene containers.

It will then report its findings to the General Assembly by July 1, 2020.

Under that law, local governments are prohibited from enacting any regulations restricting the use of the above items during that interim period.

“Personally, I’m confused by this legislation,” said Morrissey. “Why do we need another study?”

Because of this limiting action, he said, “the EAC and I believe that we need to start somewhere. Doing nothing does not seem appropriate.”

Solebury’s reasons cited in its resolution supporting new state legislation against plastic use includes:

– its negative impact on the natural environment;

– the potential to pollute the environment, harm wildlife and natural landscapes, clog storm drains and drainage systems, and enter into the water creating further damage to aquatic life and ecosystems;

– plastic bags bind and clog sorting equipment and become an operational and financial burden on recycling facilities and polystyrene containers do not biodegrade;

– reusable bags and containers and paper straws are readily available alternative to single-use plastic bags, polystyrene food containers and plastic straws and are both cost effective and help to preserve the natural environment;

– it is in the public interest of Solebury residents to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags and plastic straws and polystyrene food containers to protect the public health and natural environment of the surrounding area.