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Plastic Bag Ban Passes Maryland House

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The House of Delegates passed a ban on plastic bags Wednesday. The bill would apply to bags used to carry items from a store, but exempts an assortment of other plastic bags, including dry cleaning plastic, food wrappers and the bags newspapers are delivered in.

During a heated debate, Republicans said the cost of alternative, non-plastic bags would hurt small businesses. They also highlighted the ways in which plastic bags are frequently reused.

“My family, we use them for baby diapers,” said Del. Mike Griffith, a Republican who represents parts of Cecil and Harford counties. “Every single one we get gets used, and Marylanders for a variety of reasons use these.”

On the other hand, Democrats emphasized the harm plastic bags do to the environment. 

“We created an indestructible product that has pretty much inundated the world and no one knows what to do with it,” said Del. Regina Boyce, a Democrat from Baltimore City. “If we don't reduce the use, we will continue to be in a crisis.”

Boyce compared the would-be ban to the recall of a dangerous consumer product. 

She said at least 74 countries have already banned plastic bags.

A similar bill passed the House last year but did not make it through the Senate before the legislature adjourned early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If it becomes law, the ban would take effect in July 2022.

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