Philly Bag Ban: Single-use plastic bags, some paper bags now banned in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – The city of Philadelphia’s ban on single-use plastic bags begins Thursday.

Paper bags that do not contain at least 40 percent recycled content are also prohibited.

Businesses will have until October 1 to begin phasing out bags before warnings are issued.

“Although the ban will be implemented from July 1, there will be a nine-month awareness, education and warning period before full enforcement begins to give businesses time to cope. prepare and comply with the law, ”the city said.

As of August 1, retailers must have posted signage advising customers that single-use plastic bags and non-recycled paper bags will no longer be provided as of October 1.

Then on October 1, single-use bags will be banned.

From that date until March 31, 2022, the city declares an education period during which law enforcement agencies will issue warnings to businesses that supply banned bags.

Philly will be completely plastic-free by April 2022 and will report breaches to non-compliant businesses.

The ban was passed in December 2019, but was delayed due to the pandemic.

The City of Philadelphia has published a list of frequently asked questions regarding the bag ban last week.

Here are some answers:

Why ban plastic bags?

Philadelphians use nearly a billion plastic bags every year, which litter our streets, waterways and trade corridors. Plastic bags represent more than 10,000 hours of wasted staff time and pose a danger to recycling facility workers as they get caught in equipment. Banning plastic bags will make our city cleaner, reduce waste and save money.

What is forbidden?

The law prohibits commercial companies from providing on site or in delivery:

  • All single-use plastic bags. This includes all those created by a blown film extrusion process or bags less than 2.25 mil thick. (The blown film extrusion process is the primary means by which all plastic bags that use plastic film are created, regardless of the thickness of the plastic. Therefore, this legislation prohibits ALL bags that we commonly refer to as single-use plastic bags, regardless of their thickness.)

  • PLA (polylactic acid) bags created by a blown film extrusion process.

  • Any paper bag that does not contain at least 40 percent recycled content and does not meet the labeling criteria set out in legislation.

What types of bags will still be allowed?

Retail establishments will still be allowed to provide:

Reusable bags:

  • Made of nylon, cotton, fabric, polyester or other machine washable fabric specially designed and manufactured for multiple reuse.

  • Reusable plastic bags, which are not created by blown film extrusion, are greater than 2.25 mils thick and are specially designed and manufactured for multiple reuse.

Paper bags that:

  • Contains at least 40% post-consumer recycled content

  • Contains no old fibers
  • Display the word “Recyclable” or “Recycled Content” prominently and are labeled with the manufacturer’s name and the bag’s percentage of post-consumer recycled content in an easy-to-read font size

Which companies are affected?

The ban will affect all retail establishments of all sizes in Philadelphia that make bags available for take-out items (such as food, clothing, household items, etc.) and / or for the delivery. These businesses include establishments, indoor or outdoor, where food or other products are offered for sale to the public, including supermarkets, convenience stores, stores, gas stations, department stores, food stores. clothing, restaurants, food trucks, farmers’ markets and delivery services.

Are there any exemptions?

The following bags are exempt:

  • Bags sold in packages containing several bags intended for use as garbage bags or to contain animal waste or garden waste.

  • Bags used within a retail establishment by a customer to deliver perishable items to the point of sale (including bags used to package bulk items, meat or fish, unprepared food packaged, baked goods, flowers, potted plants or similar items).

What happens to companies that do not comply?
Businesses using banned bags after October 1, 2021 can be reported to 311. Until April 1, 2022, businesses will receive a warning to remind them of the ban. After April 1, 2022, any retail establishment that does not comply will be subject to notices of violation with penalties of at least $ 75. Each violation of the order is punishable by a separate fine. The City can sue repeat offenders and ask the judge to impose more severe penalties. If the fines are not paid, a lien can be placed on the business.

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Ethel J. Montes