Protect Local Bag and Foam Bans:  Fight Preemption in South Carolina

Victory | May 10 2018

Plastic Pollution

South Carolina Surfrider activists have united to protect the localities that have passed or would like to pass a single-use plastic bag and foam bans in an effort to reduce solid waste pollution in our environment.

Representative in the South Carolina state legislature introduced a bill that would ban municipalities from regulating both disposable and reusable packaging (also known as auxiliary containers) and gives that authority only to the state General Assembly. This bill was proposed last session, without any traction, after the first single-use plastic bag ban passed in South Carolina in the City of Isle of Palms. Introduced again this session, the purpose is to remove the power of local governments in deciding how to address local plastic pollution. Citizens, business owners, mayors and councilmembers of South Carolina are not interested in the plastics industry dictating the health of our sea turtles, fish, birds, and waterbodies. Surfrider and coalition members strongly oppose the bill. 

Additionally, ten other states around the nation (Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin and New York) have already preempted local bag bans.  The fight here is important for the nationwide outlook for regulation of single-use plastics and foam foodware, as top sources of marine litter.

On May 10, 2018, the South Carolina legislative session ended and the bill died. It was a nail-biter as H3529 passed the House and then through the Senate committee this session. Luckily, three different Senators said they would “object” to the bill if it hit the floor. The threat of the Senators' objections helped to ensure that the bill never reached the floor for a vote. Surfrider Foundation South Carolina Chapters and allies are celebrating the victory for now!

Plastic Pollution

Rise Above Plastics is designed to eliminate the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.

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sdamron at surfrider.org