Delaware Passes Plastic Bag Recycling Law

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Following our recent coverage of Delaware’s new plastic bag recycling legislation, House Bill 15 was officially signed Aug. 17 by Governor Jack A. Markell.

The new law, which takes effect Dec. 1 of this year, requires all retail stores of at least 7,000 square feet, or retailers with three or more Delaware locations, to provide in-store plastic bag recycling. House Bill 15 will also call for these stores to provide reusable bags for purchase. By Aug. 1, 2010, retailers must also have a message that encourages recycling on all plastic bags.

Delaware's new law will require retailers to have in-store bins in an effort to increase plastic bag recycling. According to the EPA, about 12 percent of plastic bags and wraps were recycled in 2007. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911.com

Delaware's new law will require retailers to have in-store bins in an effort to increase plastic bag recycling. According to the EPA, about 12 percent of plastic bags and wraps were recycled in 2007. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911.com

Similar to the laws passed in New York and California, House Bill 15 will decrease the amount of bags landfilled and boost uniformed plastic bag recycling throughout the state.

“By encouraging Delawareans to recycle now, we can reduce pollution, preserve our natural resources and set an example for future generations,” Governor Markell told Sussex Countian. “This new store where we make this law today is not only putting people to work to help our economy – it’s putting customers to work helping the environment.”

In addition to providing expanded consumer access to plastic shopping bag recycling, it will also expand recycling resources for other varieties of plastic bags and wraps, making the question of what to do with dry cleaning bags or newspaper bags a bit less complicated.

About 89 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are used each year in the U.S. In 2007, more than 830 million pounds of plastic bags and film were recycled, a 27 percent increase from 2005, according to the American Chemistry Council.

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