Delaware law encourages bag recycling

    Many state and local governments have taken aim at plastic shopping bags. The latest such effort came Monday in Delaware, with a new law requiring grocery store chains to let customers recycle the bags.

    Many state and local governments have taken aim at plastic shopping bags. The latest such effort came Monday in Delaware, with a new law requiring grocery store chains to let customers recycle the bags. But an effort to ban the bags in Philadelphia died in City Council earlier this summer, with some councilmembers reversing themselves to vote against it. Supporters say industry representatives killed it with last minute lobbying, and one of those opponents is a highly touted supermarket owner.

    Jeff Brown is a popular man in Philadelphia. As the owner of Brown’s Shoprite stores, he’s celebrated by local and federal officials, as one of the few supermarket owners who brings fresh food to underserved neighborhoods.

    But he’s also the guy who some Councilmembers say killed the city’s proposed ban on plastic bags with last minute appeals.

    Brown says low income residents would suffer under the ban because they often have to tote their groceries long distance.

    Brown: I might be the most concerned bizness man about the environment, but i’m even more concerned about the poorest people who dont have a voice.

    Brown says he was only one of several industry representatives who lobbied against the bill.

    Councilman Jim Kenney co-sponsored the bill. He says the ban would benefit all residents.

    Kenney: I just think its unfair to promote the fact that people living in struggling neighborhoods shouldnt have a clean environment, that somehow because they’re poor they need to have plastic bags blowing around their streets.

    Sponsors of the plastic bag ban have not yet decided whether to re-introduce the bill in the fall.

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