The Charleston Post and Courier published an editorial on Monday supporting a proposal before the Isle of Palms City Council seeking to ban most single-use plastic bags from island businesses.
The editorial said that if it approves the ban, the Isle of Palms would be the first municipality to do so in South Carolina. More than 100 cities and counties have similar laws around the country. The entire state of California banned plastic bags in 2014.
The editorial said an estimated 100 billion plastic bags are thrown away in the U.S. annually and that a 2014 report from the Ocean Conservancy lists plastic grocery bags as the sixth most common litter — behind cigarette butts, wrappers, plastic bottles, bottle caps and straws — collected by beach clean-up volunteers nationwide.
“Not surprisingly, some cities reported a significant reduction in litter, stormwater drain clogs and other problems related to improper plastic bag disposal shortly after implementing bans,” the editorial said.
The editorial said the key to the success of the proposed Isle of Palms ban could be its focus on the threat to marine animals, which can become sick or die after ingesting bags mistaken for food.
The Society of the Plastics Industry, a plastics trade industry association, weighed in on the proposed ban, tweeting to Palmetto Business Daily that the plastic-bag industry has an $8.1 million annual payroll in South Carolina and adds $34.6 million to the state's economy annually.