Salisbury seeks to educate public on plastic bags ban

By Liz Holland
Posted 12/7/22

Salisbury’s new ban on single-use plastic bags is the latest example of how the city has become a regional leader on environmental policy and stewardship, Mayor Jake Day said Monday during the …

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Salisbury seeks to educate public on plastic bags ban

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Salisbury’s new ban on single-use plastic bags is the latest example of how the city has become a regional leader on environmental policy and stewardship, Mayor Jake Day said Monday during the city’s first push to educate shoppers before the law takes effect on July 1.

“Once discarded, this type of plastic is easily wind blown around due to its light weight, meaning you can find them just about anywhere,” he said.

Salisbury has already been designated as a pollinator-friendly Bee City, a Sustainable Maryland certified city and recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a tree friendly city. It also has Naylor Mill Forest, the largest conservation easement of any city in Maryland.

“It’s our mission to make the most of our time as city stewards,” he said.

The new ordinance won unanimous approval from the City Council on Nov. 28, after the Salisbury Sustainability Advisory Committee, also known as the “Green Team,” devised the plan and then sought feedback from local businesses and from officials in other jurisdictions where bans are already in place.

Day said the city got support in the effort from the SU Environmental Students Association whose members attended City Council meetings in support of the ban, dragging a long chain of plastic bags behind them.

“Your work as advocates, as tireless leaders who show up time and again … I want to say thank you to you,” he said

The Sierra Club of the Lower Eastern Shore and Trash Free Maryland were supporters of the effort, as were certified green businesses in the city including Rise Up Coffee, Roadie Joe’s, Evolution Craft Brewing and Taco Bliss, Day said.

The ban applies only to single-use plastic bags given at the point of sale, not to bags used in grocery stores for packing items such as produce, baked goods, seafood and meats. It also wouldn’t apply to wrappers and bags for newspapers, flowers and plants, dry cleaned items and ice, or to anything that comes packed in plastic.

It also requires stores to charge 10 cents for paper bags as an incentive for shoppers to move towards reusable bags.

The ordinance provides for a six-month rollout to allow businesses to use up their existing stock before the ban takes effect. It also allows the city time to implement its plan to educate the public.

City officials plan to put information about the new law on all of its social media accounts. Information also is available at salisbury.md/shopgreensby.

Other cities and counties in Maryland have adopted plastic bag bans including Howard and Montgomery counties, Baltimore City, Takoma Park, Chestertown and Westminster. The town of Easton recently adopted its own ordinance that will take place next April.

Outside of Maryland, there are bans in Washington, D.C., and the entire state of Delaware.

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