The City issues a reminder regarding the application of the ban on plastic bags | Commerce Department

Enforcement of the ban on single-use plastic bags will start on April 1, after a six-month warning period for businesses

PHILADELPHIA — The city will begin enforcing Philadelphia’s plastic bag ordinance on Friday, April 1, 2022 after a six-month warning period for businesses. The ban, originally passed by the city council in December 2019, prohibits businesses from using single-use plastic bags for purchases. The implementation was initially delayed for a period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A long period of education and awareness began when the implementation of the law came into force on July 1, 2021. Although businesses are banned from using plastic bags from October 1, 2021, there was an additional six-month awareness, education and warning period before full enforcement begins April 1 to give businesses enough time to prepare and comply with the law.

“The climate crisis and plastic pollution remain two very serious threats to our planet and our society. Philadelphia is committed to advancing our environmental goals, and banning single-use plastic bags is an important step toward achieving those goals,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We also understand that this is a major change for businesses and we are happy to see that so many of them are already complying with the law throughout the extended period of education. and warning. As the April 1 application deadline approaches, we urge companies to take the necessary steps to avoid any financial penalties. And we urge shoppers to bring reusable shopping bags.

The Philadelphia City Council has passed the ban on single-use plastic bags as a major step toward cleaning up Philadelphia’s streets and waterways and reducing plastic waste. To ensure that businesses have enough time to comply with the law, from October 1, 2021 to April 1, 2022, the City has only issued warnings to businesses that do not comply. As of April 1, 2022, the City will begin issuing infractions that carry financial penalties.

The City will issue infraction notices for companies using non-compliant bags. These notices carry a minimum penalty of $150. Each violation of the order is subject to a separate fine. If companies repeatedly or flagrantly violate the ordinance, the City can sue them and ask the judge to impose additional penalties.

To help businesses navigate this transition, the City has provided a variety of resources, all of which are available at Resources available include:

To further support the business community through this change, the City has hosted virtual business information sessions in 2021 that can be viewed and shared online. We continue to conduct outreach activities with the business community as well as residents and consumers.

Which commercial establishments are affected?

The ban affects all commercial establishments of all sizes in Philadelphia that make bags available for take-out items (such as food, clothing, household items, etc.) and/or for delivery. These businesses include establishments, indoors or outdoors, where food or other products are offered to the public for sale, including, but not limited to: supermarkets, convenience stores, stores, gas stations, department stores, clothing stores, restaurants, food trucks, farmers’ markets and delivery services.

What bags are prohibited?

Legislation prohibits retail establishments from providing at checkout or delivery:

  • All single-use plastic bags. This includes bags created by a “blown film extrusion” process. The blown film extrusion process is the primary means of creating all plastic bags using plastic film, regardless of the thickness of the plastic. Therefore, this legislation prohibits all bags that we commonly call 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% recycled content and does not meet the labeling criteria defined by legislation (must be labeled with the name of the manufacturer and the percentage of post-consumer recycled content of the bag in a easy-to-read font-size format).

Which plastic bags are exempt from the ban?

The following bags are exempt:

  • Dry cleaning bags.
  • Bags sold in packages containing several bags intended for use as garbage bags or to contain animal or garden waste.
  • Bags used inside a retail establishment by a customer to deliver perishable goods to the point of sale (including bags used to package bulk goods, meat or fish, prepared foods not wrapped, baked goods, flowers, potted plants or similar items).
  • Bags provided by pharmacists to hold prescription drugs.
  • Newspaper bags.

Philadelphians use nearly a billion plastic bags each year, which litter our streets, waterways and commercial corridors. Plastic bags represent over 10,000 hours of wasted time for staff at our recycling facility because they are not recyclable at the curb and get caught in equipment, which is dangerous for center staff. recycling and costs the City money. Banning plastic bags will make our city cleaner, reduce waste and save taxpayers money.

More information and resources are available for download at

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