If you think you’ve heard this story before, it’s because you have. Philadelphia initially wanted to start a single-use plastic bag ban in July 2020, but once the pandemic started, the city figured residents had enough to worry about, so now they are implementing it once more.
The ban began on July 1, nearly one year after it was supposed to start. However, the new law won’t be fully enforced until April 2022. By the end of the month, retail establishments must post signs stating that they will no longer provide single-use plastic bags as of October 1. The city will start issuing warnings to businesses that do not comply.
The plastic bag ban will “prohibit retail businesses from giving customers single-use plastic bags and paper bags that are not made of at least 40% recycled content. Businesses will be permitted to charge customers for approved bags,” according to NBC Philadelphia.
However, the ban includes certain exemptions- bags used inside stores to package unwrapped food items, flowers, potted plants and dry cleaned clothing. Also, bags used for pet waste, garbage and yard waste will also not be included.
The goal of this ban is to reduce litter and save money and keep staff safe during the recycling process. Plastic bags account for more than 150 hours of lost time at the recycling facility, costing the city $300,000 each year.
Although not all of Pennsylvania has a ban, New Jersey and Delaware do. So start stocking up on reusable bags now or you will be carrying your groceries home in your arms.