Plastic bag ban advances in Philadelphia

    Paper or plastic? That may be a phrase you won’t hear much longer when shopping in Philadelphia. City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that would ban plastic bags.

    Paper or plastic? That may be a phrase you won’t hear much longer when shopping in Philadelphia. City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that would ban plastic bags.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090610spcouncil.mp3]

    The last time Council tried to ban plastic bags, industry lobbyists fought the measure with promises of a public education campaign.

    Those lobbyists were back making similar promises, but this time, Council members weren’t buying it.

    Councilman Jim Kenney grilled Sharrie Jackson from the American Chemical Council, which represents the major bag manufacturers.

    Kenney: Recycling is occurring in the city. Then why is it still in my streets and my trees? Why is it still in my river? why does the city of Philadelphia have to buy a piece of equipment to skim the river to get them out of it? Obviously more has to be done. Like banning it!.

    The committee unanimously voted to require stores across the city to hand out paper, or compostable plastic bags.

    Plastic shopping bags are banned in San Francisco and China.

    City Council is expected vote on the bill next week. If approved, it would take effect in 2011.

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