Blog : Guest Blog: City Should Ban Use of Plastic Shopping Bags

By Madalyn | Dec 9, 2014 | in

The Guest Blog below is from Josh Denton, a member of the Portsmouth Sustainable Practices Committee. This post summarizes ideas discussed at the Portsmouth City Council Meeting to help the city become more sustainable during the holiday season.

CITY SHOULD BAN USE OF PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS
Portsmouth, NH

On November 17, the Blue Ribbon Committee on Sustainable Practices presented the City Council with energy efficiency and sustainability suggestions like instituting Pay As You Throw (PAYT) and new Historic District solar array guidelines. PAYT saves taxpayers money by incentivizing reuse, recycling, and composting, while the Historic District guidelines allow Building Integrated Photovoltaic arrays that double as rooftop shingles or building facades to be visible from primary street-fronts.

Banning retailer-supplied, thin-film, non-biodegradable, single-use plastic shopping bags was also discussed. Shoppers would use their own reusable bags or be charged a fee to use the retailer’s biodegradable or paper bags. This reduces petroleum expended and carbon emitted during their manufacturing, and the environmental impacts from their disposal.

There is no need to look as far away as New York City or the entire State of California for similar bans being enacted; just 22 miles away, the Newburyport City Council recently voted to ban retailer-supplied traditional plastic shopping bags. Retailers in violation face an initial warning and then increasing fines for subsequent offenses. Newburyport makes numerous exceptions for certain types of retailers and bags, like farmers’ markets or loose fruit and vegetable bags.

If Newburyport, a comparably sized historic seaport with a vibrant tourism industry can do their part, so can the Port City. This holiday shopping season, don’t wait for our City Council to act, join those making a conscious effort to use reusable shopping bags, like those advocating at the South Church’s Sunday services.

For more information, contact: Josh at joshuaddenton@hotmail.com