PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It has been two months since the plastic bag ban in Philadelphia went into effect. But an environmental group says some stores are still breaking the law.
This ban on plastic bags applies to all stores in town, including grocery stores. But Sprouts, in south Philadelphia, is one of the major solicited retailers.
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Realizing that this is a big change for stores, the mayor ironically defended a store that distributed plastic bags on Wednesday.
“It’s very convenient for all of us and we’re happy that it’s opening now,” said buyer Glenny Cuevas.
Convenience at your fingertips. On Wednesday morning, in Juniata, shoppers celebrated the brand new Juniata supermarket.
“Great moment, great moment. It’s more practical and something new, ”said buyer Victor Fernandez.
The neighborhood was considered a food desert. But the formerly abandoned $ 6 million, 400,000 square foot warehouse fills a void in the largely Latino community.
“It is a testament to the growth of the Latino community not only here in Philadelphia but throughout the region and throughout our great state,” said State Representative Danilo Burgos.
But the store is in violation of the city ordinance.
The city banned plastic bags in October. However, on Wednesday morning, as hundreds of people restocked their refrigerators, they were handed plastic bags.
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Mayor Jim Kenney largely gave them a pass.
“All of this stuff is going to take a while to fall into place. It has just come into force. I’m sure there is a supply of bags that people are going to try to get through them, ”Kenney said.
PennEnvironment released a report on Wednesday that said 27 of the 50 stores they have visited since October 1 were in violation of the order.
“It is essential for us to hold companies accountable when they violate our laws and harm our environment, our communities and our quality of life,” said Faran Savitz of PennEnvironmental.
The infringing stores included Sprouts, certain Home Depots, several CVS stores, Dollar Trees and Acmes.
The fines will not start to be imposed until April of next year. The minimum penalty is $ 75.
“We don’t have to be falling like crazy at this point, but at some point they’ll wear them out and we’ll go to paper,” Kenney said.
Sprouts distributes plastic bags which they say are thicker and can be reused up to 125 times. But a city spokesperson said these bags are also not allowed.
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If you see companies breaking the law, PennEnvironment asks you to call 311.