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Bring Your Bag - Neighboring Township's Single-Use Plastics Ordinance

Updated: Apr 6

04/04/2023 - K. Archinal, SC member

On Thursday, March 16, 2023, Uwchlan Township’s new ordinance prohibiting single-use plastics went into effect; and, by Saturday, a Nextdoor correspondent posted a receipt online showing a $0.15 bag charge at Chick-fil-A in Lionville. The Nextdoor mail for the West Vincent area was inundated with complaints and threats to boycott the establishment, show up with dirty bags or receive their orders in their hands.

The ordinance, which prohibits the use of carry-out plastic bags, polystyrene food containers, and single-use plastic straws by commercial establishments was passed on September 12, 2022, giving merchants 6 months to comply. It requires a 15-cent fee for a recyclable bag as well as penalties for non-compliance by establishments.

While some states are imposing statewide bans, in 2019 the Pennsylvania legislature included language in a budget bill forbidding policies banning single-use plastics. By the time the bill was set to expire in December 2021, there had been enough opposition to prevent its renewal. As a result, since the state has not created pro-ban legislation, local governmental entities have decided to write their own. Currently Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have passed legislation. Locally, West Chester Borough, West Goshen, Tredyffrin Township, Easttown Township, and Uwchlan Township have enacted bans.

Every year, Pennsylvanians use an estimated 4.5 billion single-use plastic bags. Microplastics have been found in 50 of Pennsylvania’s cleanest rivers and streams. They are also being deposited in cells throughout the human body instead of being voided.

Presently, the West Vincent Sustainability Committee has been considering the best path for the township to take on its approach to single-use plastics.

Meanwhile, because Uwchlan Township has such an economic impact on West Vincent residents (two Wawas, McDonalds, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, Target, Giant, Dairy Queen, restaurants and shops, etc.), the Sustainability Committee is asking its residents to share information on obtaining non-plastic straws, good beverage containers, totes and bags as well as the best ways to remind ourselves to take them out of the vehicle and into the establishment.

The Sustainability Committee meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in the Township Building Meeting Room and invites residents to be part of the conversation and to share your experience and suggestions on any sustainable practice.

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