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Philadelphia plastic bag ban shows massive success

Words by Tess Becker

Finding ways to be more sustainable and removing single-use waste from our lives is essential to helping clean up the planet. That’s something that Philadelphia took note of and decided to work on eventually banning most single-use plastic bags in retail stores.

“Philadelphians use about a billion plastic bags each year,” the city writes. “Unless properly disposed of, many of these bags become litter in our streets, waterways, and commercial corridors. The plastic bag ban will help reduce single-use plastic waste and improve the environmental quality and cleanliness of our city.”

The ban went into effect on July 1, 2021, and has been a massive success, preventing 200 million plastic bags from being used. The ban doesn’t completely remove plastic bags from retail stores but it prohibited retailers from giving out single-use plastic bags and paper bags not made of at least 40% recycled material or face penalties of $150 or more per violation.

After seeing the success of the ban, many other cities and municipalities across Pennsylvania are adopting similar measures. At least 16 municipalities in the state, including Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s second-largest city, have approved some type of ban, with most of them concentrated in the east.

“This success of the Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance shows how the city, together with local business and consumers, can stop waste before it starts,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

Beacon Food Forest. This is one of the largest food forests in the country. Find out more and support them here

Cultural Survival. They are an indigenous-led nonprofit focused on empowering indigenous Americans and helping the planet. Find out more

American Forest’s. A conservation organization focused on preserving and protecting American forests. Support them here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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