Single-use materials are a momentary convenience that last a lifetime. Many plastics, even plant-based varieties, are not recyclable in curbside programs and do not biodegrade in landfills. Much of this waste instead slowly degrades into microplastics and enter our water, food, and air.
In July 2019 Borough Council approved an ordinance banning single use plastic bags and straws in West Chester, effective July 2020. Enforcement of this ordinance will commence January 1st 2022.
The ordinance bans the distribution by commercial establishments of plastic bags and drinking straws within the Borough. Paper bags are permitted as an alternative, but must consist of recycled content and be either recyclable or compostable, and establishments are required to charge and disclose a 10 cent fee on each bag provided to customers, to encourage customers to bring their own bag and avoid using unnecessary ones. The ordinance does not apply to product packaging or bags, without handles, used to wrap raw food products such as meat and fish, which would otherwise represent a health-hazard.