Carney signs legislation to ban plastic bags, reduce litter in Delaware


At the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary on July 29, Gov. John Carney joined members of the Delaware General Assembly and environmental advocates to sign House Bill 130 and Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 5 — two pieces of legislation aimed at confronting litter in Delaware. Both new laws are designed to help protect Delaware communities from litter, and protect Delaware’s environment and wildlife from the harmful effects of discarded waste.

House Bill 130 will ban the use of single-use plastic bags and is designed to encourage a shift to reusable bags in Delaware. Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 5 will address the problem of individuals dumping large quantities of trash on public and private property by increasing penalties for unlawful dumping and creating a Litter Investigation & Enforcement Fund.

“We live in a beautiful state. We should keep it that way,” said Carney. “One of the best ways we can take pride in our communities is to keep them clean. That’s why I was proud to stand with mayors, county executives, and other local leaders recently to announce the Delaware Anti-Litter Alliance — a coalition of public officials committed to keeping our state litter-free. And that’s why I was pleased to sign these bills into law on Monday.

“These new laws will help us protect Delaware communities from litter, protect our environment and protect Delaware wildlife. Thank you to members of the General Assembly and Delawareans up and down our state who have pledged to help ‘Keep DE Litter Free.’”

A 2018 study from Keep Delaware Beautiful and the State of Delaware identified 6,000 pieces of litter for every mile of Delaware roadway surveyed.

“Limiting the use of plastic bags will go a long way toward preserving our environment for future generations. Our young people and future leaders will be the beneficiaries of our actions, and today we take a step forward in making them proud,” said state Rep. Gerald Brady, prime sponsor of the plastic bag legislation. “We want our waterways to be clean and vibrant, our wildlife to be healthy and our stormwater systems to be effective. I have to thank my colleagues, Gov. Carney and many advocates for their passion and support to move this legislation, which will help our society as a whole.”

“This legislation is not just about protecting our environment but also about protecting our health,” said state Sen. Trey Paradee. “These single-use bags never fully break down. Instead, they turn into tiny bits of microplastic that end up in our food supply and eventually inside of all of us. I’m extremely proud of my colleagues in the Delaware General Assembly for taking this important first step toward reducing the amount of plastic in our environment. This is a clear demonstration that we can work together to improve our state for everyone, and I look forward to continuing that effort next year.”

“Our children and grandchildren deserve to inherit a Delaware free of trash and pollution. But we can’t expect someone else to take care of our natural environment for us,” said state Sen. Stephanie Hansen. “Preserving our forests, waterways and green spaces requires direct and deliberate action, which is why I am proud to have sponsored Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 5 and co-sponsored House Bill 130.

“These two bills are vital first steps for reducing the amount of plastic waste that inadvertently ends up in our streams and woodlands and changing the culture around the kind of deliberate littering that damages and disrespects our state and our country.”

“These pieces of legislation are essential steps at curbing hazardous behaviors, litter, and our dependence on single use plastics,” said Ginger North, director of Conservation at the Delaware Nature Society. “We commend Gov. Carney and the members of the General Assembly for taking these steps and limiting the number of plastic bags and other waste that litter our beautiful state and are a hazard to our environment, wildlife, and public health.”