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As Maryland considers a plastic bag ban, a nationwide bag shortage could pose problems

Posted at 10:40 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 23:09:33-05

BALTIMORE — As Maryland considers banning single use plastic bags, a nationwide paper and reusable bag shortage could pose problems.

Philip Rozenski, who works with a U.S packaging manufacturer called Novolex, said companies can’t keep up with the increase in demand.

At least eight states in the U.S have bans in place, but some were delayed due to the pandemic and the shortage.

“There’s none left,” he said.

Rozenski said the shortage on reusable bags are because the same materials to make them are used to make masks for the pandemic.

He said it could take years before the supply chain gets back to normal.

If it passes, the ban would go into effect in July, but the state could choose to delay the law as a result of the shortage.

“It’s going to take four to five years at least before we can make enough bags,” he said.

But even when production catches up with demand, the Maryland Retailers Association are concerned about the cost to switch to paper and reusable bags, which are more expensive than plastic.

Cailey Locklair, who is president of the organization, said the way the state’s bill is written, business would have to give them away for free.

She is hoping lawmakers change the bill and add a fee for customers to help offset some of the cost

“Businesses are struggling. This is one additional cost. Just another one that we are going to put on the backs of business,” she said.

Locklair said businesses barely surviving during the pandemic simply can’t afford it.

In Maryland, there’s at least six different localities with single use plastic bag bans, including Baltimore.

However, Mayor Brandon Scott delayed the city’s ban until July due to the pandemic.