Introduced Version House Bill 4598 History

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H. B. 4598


         (By Delegates Manchin, Caputo, Doyle, Guthrie, Longstreth, Manypenny, Moore, Pino,

                    M. Poling and Staggers)

             [Introduced February 17, 2012; referred to the

                       Committee on the Judiciary.]


A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §22-15A-15, relating to the prohibition of single-use plastic bags and to encourage the use of reusable bags.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §22-15A-15, to read as follows:


§22-15A-15. Reusable shopping bag act.

    (a) Title. – This section shall be known as the “Reusable Shopping Bag Act.”

    (b) Findings and intent.

    (1) The Legislature finds that:

    (A) The prohibition imposed by this section is necessary for the environmental, public health, and societal burdens created by single-use carryout bags;

    (B) Despite recycling and other voluntary solutions to control pollution from plastic bags in West Virginia, only a small percentage of single-use carryout bags are recycled, and the rest either take up valuable landfill space or are discarded into the environment; and

    (C) Reusable bags are an environmentally sound alternative to single-use carryout bags.

    (2) It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage the widespread use of reusable bags as an environmentally sound alternative to single-use carryout bags.

    (c) Definitions. – As used in this section:

    (1) “Reusable bag” means a bag that is:

    (A) designed and manufactured for at least one hundred uses; and

    (B) Made of washable material that does not contain lead or any other heavy metal in a toxic amount, as determined by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

    (2) (A)“Single-use carryout bag” means a bag that is:

    (i) Designed for one or more uses, but fewer than one hundred uses;

    (ii) Made of plastic; and

    (iii) Provided by a store to a customer at a point of sale.

    (B) “Single-use carryout bag” does not include bags made of paper.

    (3) “Store” means a retail establishment that provides single-use carryout bags to its customers as a result of the sale of a product and that meets any of the following requirements:

    (A) Is a supermarket;

    (B) Has over ten thousand square feet of contiguous retail space that generates sales or use tax payable to the State of West Virginia and has a licensed pharmacy on site; or

    (C) Is a convenience food store or foodmart engaged in retailing a limited line of goods that generally includes milk, bread, soda, and snacks.

    (d) Single-use carryout bag - Prohibition.

    (1) Beginning January 1, 2013, a store may not:

    (A) Provide a single-use carryout bag to a customer; and

    (B) Make reusable bags available for purchase by a customer.

    (e) The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection shall administer this section and propose rules for Legislature approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code and this section.

    (1) Before January 1, 2014, the department shall submit a report to the Legislature regarding the effectiveness of this section in achieving widespread use of reusable bags and preserving landfill space.

    (2) The report shall include recommendations to:

    (A) Further encourage the use of reusable bags by consumers and retailers;

    (B) Reduce the consumption of single-use carry out bags; and

    (C) Expand the definition of stores that are subject to this section to all other stores and retail establishments distributing single-use carryout bags.

    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit the use of single-use plastic bags by stores.

    §22-15A-15 is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.

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