This General Assembly session, legislation will be introduced in Annapolis that proposes to ban single-use plastic bags at the point of sale throughout the state.
Why is this necessary?
All we need to do is look around. Plastic litter is choking our state and country. Americans use 100 billion disposable bags per year. Frederick is no exception, with a recent Sierra Club survey demonstrating that 81 percent of Frederick shoppers use single-use plastic bags for their groceries, a figure that is only slightly better than the 88 percent statewide average. These bags are used only once, for an average of 12 minutes before being discarded. Fewer than 5 percent are recycled. Municipalities, including Frederick County, don’t accept plastic bags in the recycling stream. Thus they end up in the landfill, or worse, as litter and pollution, harming wildlife. Eventually they break down into microparticles, threatening humans as these particles make their way into the food chain. In addition to the environmental impact, the cost to municipalities to clean up these bags and other plastic waste is significant, directly affecting our pocketbook.
Over 300 cities, towns and states throughout the U.S. have either imposed a fee or a ban on plastic bags. Here in Maryland, several counties and municipalities have passed plastic bag legislation, including Howard and Montgomery counties and the city of Westminster. It’s time that Maryland as a whole embraces this idea. We cannot continue this unbridled addiction to plastic; it’s killing our environment. Contact your representative and tell them to approve this bill. We owe it to our community, to our earth, and to our children to do the right thing.