Pa. lawmaker offers his 2 cents on plan to cut down on plastic bags

 A Pa. lawmaker is proposing a 2-cent surcharge on every plastic bag issued in Pennsylvania stores. (Elaine Thompson/AP Photo, file)

A Pa. lawmaker is proposing a 2-cent surcharge on every plastic bag issued in Pennsylvania stores. (Elaine Thompson/AP Photo, file)

A Pennsylvania lawmaker says plastic shopping bags shouldn’t be handed out for free. 

State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, says plastic bags are creating a major problem for the environment.

“When you use a plastic bag to run an errand, the errand takes about 30 minutes,” he said. “The plastic bag can last up to 5,000 years. These plastic bags kill about 700,000 animals a year. There’s an island the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean made up of stuff like this that is never going to go away.”

Leach is proposing a 2-cent surcharge on every plastic bag issued in Pennsylvania stores, with the money funding recycling programs. He’s hoping a financial incentive will convince people to consider alternatives.

“What I’m hoping is it encourages people to use paper bags, what we did as kids, there was no plastic bags and everyone survived,” he said. “If you do use a plastic bag, and you buy five bags of groceries that’s a dime and that would go to recycling programs to at least offset the footprint of the environment.”

Leach is seeking co-sponsors of the bill and hopes to have a hearing on the measure before the end of the year.

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