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Military to stop using plastic bags at commissaries on Guam


A customer checks the prices of goods at NEX on Guam Naval Base. Photo by Gina T. Reilly/Pacific Island Times

 By Pacific Island Times News Staff

  

Commissaries on Guam will no longer issue single-use shopping bags starting March 15 in compliance with a local law that bans disposable plastic bags at retail stores and restaurants, according to the Defense Commissary

 Agency.


“DeCA is committed to complying with applicable local and territorial laws restricting the use of plastic and paper single-use bags,” said John Hall,

DeCA director and CEO. “We plan to implement a phased approach to eliminate single-use bags that takes into account our patrons’ needs and logistical limitations.”


The ban on single-use plastic bags went into effect on Guam in January 2021. The law prohibits the sale and distribution of disposable plastic bags, with corresponding penalties of $500 for the first offense and up to $10,000 for subsequent violations.


“Over the years DeCA has been a leader in energy, water and solid waste

 reduction, as well as implementing a robust recycling program to help protect the environment,” the commissary agency said.


The agency advises commissary customers to bring their own reusable bags from home or purchase reusable or hot/cold bags from the selection available

 at each store.


The military ban on single-use plastic shopping bags will apply to Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base commissaries.


“Elimination of single-use bags will be a major shift in commissary patron shopping habits, and DeCA will address potential concerns during the transition process. DeCA will also provide additional resources toward education and awareness to ease the transition,” the commissary agency said.


“DeCA remains dedicated to environmental stewardship, reducing its ecological footprint, and complying with applicable environmental laws and regulations. DeCA’s approach to eliminating non-reusable bags in both Guam

 commissaries takes into account its patrons’ needs, as well as various contractual, fiscal, statutory, and operational requirements,” it added.



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