Port Royal passes plastic bag ban

PORT ROYAL, SC (WTOC) - Port Royal finalized a countywide ordinance Wednesday night passing a plastic bag ban.

They're the final municipality in Beaufort County to agree to an ordinance the county passed in January. It has a lot of shoppers talking.

"When we come to the store, we are so accustomed to just getting the bag and walking out of the store. I do have about $400 of them at my house," said Marti King, Hilton Head Island, SC.

"I've been using reusable bags for years now. It's just something I naturally do," said Karen Opderbeck, Hilton Head Island.

"But, what are we going to do about litter? We spend so much time keeping up all four of our municipalities in the county, and litter is a terrible problem," said Beaufort City Mayor, Billy Keyserling.

"I love living in the Lowcountry, but I don't like driving down 278 and seeing all of these plastic bags everywhere, flailing into the wind and going into our coastal waters," said Michelle Meisen, Palmetto Ocean Conservatory.

The fine can reach up to $500 for businesses not following the ordinance, and even suspension or revocation of their license.

In October, Beaufort County can expect to see a full transition away from these plastic bags. A conservationist says one of the big reasons is how difficult it is to recycle the bags.

"You can't recycle plastic bags. They get caught up in the machines at waste management and then they break down and take a long time to repair," Meisen said.

State lawmakers are trying to stop these ordinances. House Bill 3529, also known as Ban on Bans, is restricting cities from putting bans on plastic bags.

"It's too much of a heavy hand for Columbia telling us how we should run our cities. We're closer to the people. We respond to the people every day."

Because the ordinance has passed, it will not be affected if the House bill becomes law.

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