State does not want local leaders to decide on plastic bag bans


Local governments could potentially have no say over whether or not the use of plastic bags, and other items like plastic cups and bottles, are allowed in their communities. That's because House Bill 3529 would leave those decisions up to the state.

Residents in Horry County aren't in favor of the proposed bill.

"It's very disappointing that right now the state wants to jump in and stop any kind of container ban, when the state doesn't really have a plan in place to take up where the local communities are leaving off," said Sandra Bundy, a member of the Chirping Bird Society in Pawley's Island.

Not long ago, Surfside Beach officials approved a ban on the use of plastic bags, arguing harm to the environment. Residents in North Myrtle Beach are considering the same option.

"City council members felt that although they agree that there should be some refinement in the use of plastic bags, because they do pollute and it's really harder to get rid of them, because the far east is no longer taking them," said North Myrtle Beach Spokesman Pat Dowling.

Some believe the state shouldn't be the ones to decide what impacts the use of bags have on their community.

"Right here along the coast, we depend on our fishery and our seafood restaurants and the last thing we want is to have something harm that," said Bundy.

Kristen Brown of Murrells Inlet, whose father patented the plastic bag, said if the state wants to decide whether cities can ban the bags, they'd better have an alternative to the problem.

"You're going to have to pay into a fund that helps to pay for public education about what to do with them and also helps pay to cover some of the cost of the cleanup and the sewer system and the waterways," said Brown.

This bill on the senate floor outlines that bags, cups, packages, bottles or other packaging that is designated for consuming, transporting or protecting merchandise from or at a food service, or retail facility would only be governed by the state, not your local politicians.

Members of the Chirping Bird Society were in Columbia today to voice their concerns.

Cities and towns that already had plastic bag bans in place prior to Jan. 31, will not be impacted by the bill.

We are still waiting to hear the decision for the senate on the bill. We will update this story as soon as we find out more information.

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