Plastic bags will soon become as rare as Blockbusters in the United States as more states move to ban them – and it’s a good thing. Delaware has become the latest state to introduce a plastic bag ban, which will go into effect at retail stores starting January 1. The average Delaware resident uses 464 plastic bags per year, according to data from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).
The ban applies to retail stores larger than 7,000 square feet, as well at those with more than three locations in the state that are at least 3,000 square feet. Businesses that don’t comply can expect to be fined. Although this will bring the US another step closer toward sustainability, many business owners aren’t pleased with the new rule.
Gerry Hocker, owner of Hocker’s Super Center, told local news, “This is just another slap in the face to the retailer, and particularly to the large retailer.” He also implied that the bags brought in by customers, in an attempt to be more sustainable, aren’t sanitary for use during the COVID-19 crisis.
Adam Schlachter, a program manager at the DNREC, isn’t buying the argument that reusable bags are inherently unsanitary. “We’ve reviewed a lot of the studies,” he said, “actually all the studies that are out there on the reusable bags and what they all conclude is if the bag is sanitized, there is minimal risk of any disease transferring.”
Retail stores affected by the law will also be required to provide an At-Store Recycling program for single-use plastic bags and other plastic items.