State Lawmakers In Philadelphia Introduce Bill To Curb Use Of Plastic Bags

Remember these iconic lines with Dustin Hoffman from the classic movie “The Graduate?”

“Plastics.”

“Exactly how do you mean?” asks Ben, Dustin Hoffman’s character.

“There’s a great future in plastics.”

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Maybe there was a future back in 1968, but today some lawmakers say we are awash in plastic, especially plastic bags at almost every check-out counter, causing a trash build-up.

“Key to this accumulation of trash is one of the main culprits which is the plastic bag,” Rep. Jared Solomon, a Philadelphia Democrat, told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday. “It’s sort of become like a modern day tumbleweed. We got to eradicate it. We got to fix it.”

Through Face Time, KDKA caught up with two Philadelphia state representatives — Jared Solomon and Brian Sims — who have introduced a bill to take on plastic bags.

“The bill, in short, is about reducing the trash that litters our streets from single-use plastic bags,” explained Sims, another Philadelphia Democrat. “I’ve introduced a bill, along with my colleague here in Philadelphia, Jared Solomon, that calls for a two cents tax on single-use plastic bags.”

The two-cent fee would apply to plastic bags from only those stores with more than $1 million in annual sales, not the mom and pop stores.

“I would be all for using paper if that’s what the cause is all about,” said Steve Spence of Green Tree, who was loading groceries in three plastic bags into his car.

At two cents a bag, those three bags would cost six cents — and nobody seemed too concerned about that price.

In fact, some thought this really would encourage people to recycle using their own bags instead.

“It’s a little ridiculous for the environment using plastic bags like that, but I usually use reusable bags,” noted Taylor Humes of Fox Chapel.

If approved, one penny goes back to the store to help them buy paper bags and the other penny goes back to the state for recycling programs.

“We’re putting it back into businesses, back into communities, and ensuring that our communities are clean,” Solomon said.