A new Tennessee bill introduced by Sen. Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville) would no longer allow stores to distribute disposable bags.
The proposal states that grocery stores, retail stores and the like should no longer be allowed to give away paper or plastic bags to customers for free.
WVLT News spoke with Briggs who said Americans are addicted to plastics.
“The truth is, it’s like the opioid crisis, we’re really addicted to plastics,” Briggs said.
He hopes the ban will help prevent plastics from ending up in the Tennessee River and other places they shouldn’t.
“The Tennessee River is one of the most biodiverse rivers in the world, but it appears to be the most plastic-polluted river in the world,” Briggs said.
Kroger buyers have mixed opinions on the bill.
“It’s very difficult to keep them clean if you pack your groceries in these reusable bags,” said one buyer. “I’d rather recycle the ones we make than use the ones you bring back to the store that might contain bacteria.”
Another thinks it is a step in the right direction.
“I think people should get started,” Leslie Stoner said. “I think it’s a really good idea to try to eliminate the waste that we have.”
The Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association released a statement about the bill.
“The retail grocer members of our association have varying opinions on the bill. Some see this as a positive progressive movement and support it. Some – like Kroger – are already moving towards phasing out plastic bags. And some do not want to disappoint their customers, who are used to being given bags to carry their groceries home. Due to these divergent views among our members, the Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association takes a neutral stance on the bill. “
Kroger has already announced plans to phase out plastic bags by 2025
In 2019, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a bill prohibiting local governments from regulating certain plastic bags and utensils.
Eleven other states have already enacted similar “ban bans”, according to the Associated Press.
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