New Law Regulates Cups, Straws and More

Gregory Vellner
How to monitor plastic use?Photo byJohn CamerononUnsplash

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Should single-use plastic items – from grocery bags and straws to stirrers, utensils and cups -- be regulated in this suburban Philadelphia municipality?

That’s the question to be discussed 7 p.m. April 3 by the township supervisors at a special public meeting on an ordinance monitoring the plastics and their removal. Single-use plastics are items used once before being disposed – a predicament in many communities nationwide

The need for regulation is great, Elaine McCarron, co-director, township Environmental Advisory Council (EAC), has said.

“These plastic bags and throwaway plastics take 400 to 1,000 years to break down,” she said. “They go into our landfills. They go into our waterways. They leach into our oceans. They leave toxic residues for many generations to come.”

At the meeting, the EAC intends to discuss a sample ordinance, as well as host a question-and-answer session with business owners. A Penn Environment representative also is scheduled to attend.

“We are inviting all business in the township to educate owners and managers about single-use plastics,” said Supervisor Elen Snyder.

The April 3 meeting comes a year after the supervisors unanimously passed a resolution encouraging township residents to voluntarily reduce single-use plastic usage. Unlike the voluntary resolution, an ordinance would require a reduction and enact a penalty for violation.

“Many do not realize the connection between the tremendous amount of plastics we use every day and the detrimental environmental impact it causes,” said McCarron. “It is in our best interest to protect our environment, the air we breathe, the food we eat, our marine life and pass a resolution to reduce single-use plastic.”

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As a professional journalist for several years -- reporter, editor, feature writer, columnist -- I handled a range of subjects. Breaking news, investigative series, government action, feature events, and staff feature writer with national entertainment magazine interviewing stars including Tom Selleck, Mel Brooks and Danny DeVito. No matter the topic, certain ingredients are key: truth, facts, objectivity, balance.

Bucks County, PA

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