Pittsburgh is one step closer to banning plastic bags

PITTSBURGH — Nearly every time you go to the grocery store, you walk out with several plastic bags. A little-known part left out of the Pennsylvania state budget could now open the door for cities like Pittsburgh to ban them.

In the past, state lawmakers included a provision in the budget preventing local governments from banning single-use plastics. That was not included in the latest budget, meaning this could be the opportunity people like Ashleigh Deemer with PennEnvironment are looking for.

“We think this is a really critical policy to protect the health of our environment and the health of our people. We also know there’s a profound amount of support for it,” said Deemer.

Business owners, however, want more information.

“It’s weird to me. If I don’t give them a straw, people ask for them all of the time. I’m not sure where this is coming from or why they’re doing it,” said Matthew Voelker, owner of Nadine’s Diner. “I just want to see their game plan behind it and what the reasons are. Who is considering this? Why don’t they ask the people what they want?”

The Pittsburgh City Council is going to examine eliminating single-use plastics sometime this summer. Any ordinance likely wouldn’t go into effect until December per state law.