CHARLESTON, S.C (WCBD)– A bill passed by the State House could limit local governments ability to implement plastic bag bans.
H.3529 restricts local municipalities ability to issue, “any regulation regarding the use, disposition, sale, or any imposition of any prohibition, restriction, fee imposition, or taxation of auxiliary containers.”
If passed, any city or town that introduced a plastic bag ban before January 31, 2018, would be able to keep that ordinance in place. Those looking to add one will not be able to.
Those in favor of the bill argue the production of plastic bags is crucial for the state’s economy. Others say there is a need for uniformity across the state.
The City of Isle of Palms introduced a plastic bag ban in June of 2015. The City of Folly Beach added a plastic bag and styrofoam container restrictions in 2016.
Charleston’s Surfrider chapter collected 131 plastic bags on Folly Beach during a beach sweep before the ordinance went into effect. The same group picked up 28 plastic bags in a beach sweep after the ban took effect.
The Coastal Conservation League director, Emily Cedzo, responded to the State House’s passing of the bill limiting plastic bag bans, saying, “Today’s vote is a rejection of home rule and the best interests of our communities and environment. Local governments and citizens should have the right to address local problems, like plastic pollution, with local solutions. We will continue to fight for them.”
The bill will have to be voted on by the Senate, a process that could take several weeks