Philadelphia to begin process of banning plastic bags on July 1
The city will undergo a nine-month period for businesses before fully enforcing the ban next year.
The City of Philadelphia has announced it will implement a ban of single-use plastic bags, beginning Thursday, July 1.
According to the city, residents use nearly 1 billion plastic bags each year, and account for over 10,000 hours of lost staff time. Leaders further expressed that plastic bags litter our streets, waterways and commercial corridors, while posing a danger to workers at recycling facilities because they get caught up in the equipment.
“Banning plastic bags will make our city cleaner, reduce waste and save money,” they said in a joint release.
The Single-use Plastic Bag Ban was originally passed by Philadelphia City Council in December 2019, but had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ban prohibits all single-use plastic bags, no matter their thickness; bags made from polylactic acid through a blown film extrusion process; and any paper bag that does not contain at least 40% recycled content.
Reusable bags; paper bags containing a minimum of 40% post-consumer recycled content, no old-growth fiber, and/or displaying the word “Recyclable” or “Recycled Content” in a highly visible manner, will be permitted.
"Even in the wake of recovery from a global pandemic, the climate crisis and plastic pollution remain two very serious threats to our planet and society," said Mayor Jim Kenney, in a statement. “Philadelphia is committed to continuing to advance our environmental goals, and while the ban on single-use plastic bags will go into effect later than we originally anticipated, we believe this timeline will help increase compliance.
While the legislation implementation goes into effect July 1, there will be a nine-month awareness, education and warning period aimed to provide businesses time to prepare and comply with the law.
Beginning Aug. 1, retail establishments will be required to post signage in multiple languages at all points of sale informing customers that single-use plastic bags and non-recycled content paper bags will no longer be provided as of Oct. 1. In the six months following, enforcement agencies will begin to issue warnings that provide prohibited bags.
“By building out an extended education and warning period, the City will be better able to ensure widespread awareness of the law to our diverse business owners and to residents and consumers," said Kenney.
Starting April 1, 2022, businesses that don’t comply will be fined and be issued penalties of at least $75.
More information about the ban can be found here.