Consumers would be charged 10 cents for each disposable take-out bag at grocery stores and other retail establishments under a bill that aims to reduce plastic waste and encourage people to shop with reusable bags .
Senator Régine Biscoe Lee, Chair of the Committee on Innovation and Economic Development, Workforce and Youth, recently introduced Bill 268-34, entitled “Choose to Reuse: Muñga Ma Ayek I Plastek ”.
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“The reality is that we have reached a tipping point in the production and use of plastic, and it is time that we join our brothers and sisters in other islands, states and countries around the world in recognizing the magnitude of this problem and changing our habits for the long-term health of our island and our planet, ”Biscoe Lee said in a press release.
Not required to provide disposable bags
This bill is similar to measures in place or under consideration in other US territories as well as in Yap, Palau and Fiji.
Businesses would not be required to provide disposable bags to customers, and certain types of disposable plastic and paper bags would be exempt, including:
- bags used to hold bulk items such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, fish and candy or small hardware items;
- bags used to wrap flowers, plants and wet, frozen or fragile items, newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, drugstore bags for prescription drugs;
- bags sold in packages containing several bags for garden, pet or household waste;
- bags containing non-prepackaged food or bakery products;
The bill also requires all disposable take-out bags to be biodegradable, compostable or made of HDPE, or # 2 plastic. After five years, disposable take-out bags would no longer be permitted.
Customers can choose to avoid the fee by bringing their own bags to take out to stores.
The 10 cent fee
The 10-cent charge would be broken down and distributed with 3 cents going to the Recycling Revolving Fund of Guam EPA, 3 cents going to the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability; 2 cents to the retail establishment for fee administration and 2 cents to the retail establishment for a certified reusable bag program or, if the store does not have a certified program, to the Department of Income and Tax for administration of the law.
As money becomes available, free or discounted reusable bins will be subsidized from a portion of the cost to consumers.
“Encouraged to use reusable bags”
Biscoe Lee noted that several retailers, including Pay-Less Markets, have been promoting reusable bags and recycling for years.
“We are concerned about the sustainability of our island and support green initiatives that ultimately benefit our island as a whole,” said Kathy C. Sgro, executive vice president of Pay-Less Markets Inc., in the press release . “We continue to encourage the use of reusable bags when shopping and invite our business community to join us in this cause. “
Bill 268 follows the introduction of Bill 242 by the Guam Youth Congress on February 14, which would charge a combined amount of $ 0.35 for each bag used, leading to a full ban later This year.
This article originally appeared on Pacific Daily News: Bill would charge consumers for disposable bags