Plastic Ring Wraps Turtle

Plastic Ring Wraps Turtle

DOVER, Del.- Delaware lawmakers are intensifying efforts to combat plastic pollution in the state's natural areas and water bodies with the introduction of new legislation aimed at reducing the use of plastic beverage container rings and connectors.

Senate Bill 263, sponsored by Sen. Trey Paradee, proposes to prohibit the sale of beverages packaged in plastic rings or connectors in Delaware starting July 1, 2025. The bill targets common plastic packaging items such as beverage container rings and shrink wrap, excluding aseptic containers like juice boxes from the ban.

Sen. Paradee, a Dover Democrat and chair of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, emphasized the urgency of addressing the environmental and health impacts of plastic pollution. "The future of Delaware's vibrant tourism industry demands that we step up now to reduce the volume of microplastics that is already threatening to choke the life out of our ocean, bays, and marshes," he stated.

Plastic beverage rings, commonly known as six-pack rings, have long been criticized for their detrimental effects on wildlife and contribution to pollution. Despite previous regulations mandating degradability, concerns have resurfaced in recent years due to the proliferation of microplastics resulting from the decomposition process.

These microscopic particles, largely invisible to the naked eye, pose significant risks to ecosystems and human health. Studies have linked the presence of microplastics in the bloodstream to higher risks of heart attack, stroke, and various other health issues.

Furthermore, plastic beverage rings present challenges for recycling, with many waste management facilities unable to process them. While Delaware joins a growing number of jurisdictions addressing this issue, including Maine and Canada, major beverage companies are also taking steps to transition away from plastic rings to more sustainable alternatives.

Rep. Sophie Phillips, the House prime sponsor of SB 263, underscored the importance of safeguarding wildlife and ecosystems. "Our wildlife are essential to our ecosystem functioning properly, so decreasing the amount of plastic in our environment, one step at a time, will help ensure a strong and healthy planet for all of us," she remarked.

Previous legislation has targeted plastic bags and polystyrene containers, reflecting a broader commitment to environmental stewardship. Senate Bill 263 has been referred to the Senate Environment, Energy & Transportation Committee.

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