FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PITTSBURGH, PA (November 22, 2021) - During today’s Regular Meeting of Pittsburgh City Council, Councilperson Erika Strassburger will introduce legislation to regulate the sale of single-use plastic bags in the City of Pittsburgh. The proposed legislation, modeled after the bill that was passed in Philadelphia last year, will place a ban on the use of single-use plastic bags by retail businesses. Retailers will be able to provide a consumer with a recycled paper bag for a fee of no less than 15 cents, which will be retained fully by the retailer. Businesses will be required to post information in their stores in advance of these changes.
“The actions of elected and other leaders today will have longstanding ramifications for the children of the 21st century and generations to come. This plastic bag ban represents one more step in Pittsburgh’s march toward a healthier, more sustainable future, and away from the polluting, throw-away society we have become all too accustomed to,” said City Councilperson Erika Strassburger. “I am proud to introduce this bill here today with my Council colleagues and other partners and I want to thank everyone who has helped to get us to this point."
Councilperson Strassburger has been working in partnership with non-profit organizations, business leaders, university leaders, and other stakeholders to ensure this ordinance is well-researched and truly benefits those impacted. This summer, the Councilperson, along with participating members of the Plastics Collaborative network co-hosted a virtual Single-Use Plastics Summit event, featuring speeches and a panel discussion held by non-profit, corporate and small business, and local government leaders.
“We applaud Councilperson Strassburger and the City for prioritizing the health of our environment. Giant Eagle shares a vision for a Pittsburgh free of single-use plastic bags and we look forward to helping lead our community on this journey in the coming months,” said Dan Donovan, Giant Eagle Senior Director of Corporate Communications.
Americans use 100 billion plastic bags per year, which requires 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. Besides the impacts of the pollution from the manufacturing process on the environment and public health, single-use plastic bags also contribute to litter in communities, end up in waterways, and clog storm drains, which can increase flooding in neighborhoods during wet weather events. In 2021, PennEnvironment, a non-profit dedicated towards eliminating climate impacts, released a report that found microplastics in 100 percent of tested Pennsylvania waterways. Single-use plastic bags also obstruct the City’s recycling machines and take 500 years to decompose in a landfill.
“We shouldn’t allow plastic bags that we only use for a few minutes to pollute our rivers, streams, parks, and neighborhoods for hundreds of years-- especially when we have so many other options,” said PennEnvironment Deputy Director Ashleigh Deemer. “A ban on single-use plastic bags is an effective way to curb this pollution, and it’s supported by more than 100 Pittsburgh businesses and community organizations. We look forward to City Council passing this bill and adding Pittsburgh to the list of hundreds of cities across the U.S. that have banned single-use plastic bags.”