Lawmakers Debate Increased Ban on Plastic and Paper Bags | Local News

The ban on disposable plastic take-out bags will take effect on January 1, but businesses can use other types of disposable take-out bags, made of paper or biodegradable plastic.

Lawmakers on Friday debated Bill 373, which would expand the ban and ban all types of disposable carrier bags, including those made from paper and biodegradable plastic. As originally written, the expanded ban was due to go into effect on January 1.

Lawmakers decided to give businesses more time to adjust to the change and also exempt restaurants, allowing them to continue using paper take-out bags indefinitely. And Senators on Friday approved an amendment by Senator Kelly Marsh to allow businesses to use biodegradable plastic carrier bags until Dec.31, 2021.

They also approved Senator Régine Biscoe Lee’s amendment allowing all businesses to use paper take-out bags until July 21, 2022, after which only catering establishments with a valid health permit would be allowed to use. take-out paper bags.

“Taking action to immediately ban these types of bags would cause undue hardship for our wholesalers and retailers,” Lee said, citing information she received in public hearings and conversations with local businesses. Lee introduced Bill 373.

Employees Roucell Bautista and Josiah Gustaf shop during a shift at the Super Happy Mart in Barrigada.

The Guam Chamber of Commerce and the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce have sent letters to lawmakers asking them to postpone the implementation date of Bill 373 to January 1. The Chamber of Commerce requested a delay of one year, until January 1, 2022, and the Chamber of Women requested a delay of at least six months, until July 1, 2021.

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Lee said the delay would give businesses time to use their current stock of biodegradable paper and plastic carrier bags and order reusable bags instead.

Lee said the university’s Center for Island Sustainability recommended a ban on paper bags, but local restaurants said “paper bags will be a necessary part of food service in the future.”

Lawmakers on Friday rejected an amendment by Senator James Moylan, who wanted to postpone the total bag ban for one year, until January 1, 2022.

The ban on disposable bags does not apply to military-operated stores in Guam, lawmakers said. The Navy and Air Force maintain commissioners and exchanges at their bases in Guam. The military uses the island’s landfill to dispose of its municipal solid waste, as a client of the Guam Solid Waste Authority.

Senators advanced Bill 373 for a vote later in the session.

This article originally appeared on Pacific Daily News: Lawmakers Debate Increased Ban on Plastic and Paper Bags

Ethel J. Montes

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