Reusable Bag Ordinance

Picture of Reusable Bags with Burlap Background

BAG IT RIGHT

Ordinance 2008 - Effective January 2024 

HISTORY

In 2021, the City of Laurel adopted Ordinance No. 1977 prohibiting retail establishments from providing disposal plastic bags to customers at the point of sale. The Ordinance went into effect in January 2022. The expectation behind this legislation was to encourage customers to use sustainable reusable bags. What we found instead is that following the single-use plastic bag ban in the City of Laurel, the share of grocery shoppers using paper bags rose from less than 1% to 68%, while the share using reusable bags rose from 5% to only 14%, and no bag from 7% to 14%. As of result of this information, the City of Laurel has updated its plastic bag ordinance to address the serious upstream environmental impacts that are a result of the manufacture of paper bags and the expense incurred by the retailers as they provided free paper bags at checkout. 

WHAT'S NEW?

This new Ordinance encourages shoppers and patrons to use reusable bags for their groceries and other purchases. As part of the Ordinance, alternate bags like paper bags or reusable bags can be provided, but retailers must charge a minimum of $.10 per bag and retain the entirety of the fee to cover costs. Restaurant carry-out bags are included in the Ordinance. 

  • On January 1, 2024, a retail establishment shall charge, collect and retain at least ten cents ($.10) for each paper carryout bag that it provides to a customer. 
  • A reusable carryout bag is defined as a bag with stitched handles that is made of durable cloth, fiber, hemp product or other washable fabric or a durable material suitable for multiple reuses, is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuses, and is not made of plastic film. 
  • A retail establishment shall post notices that advise customers to bring reusable bags and that a paper bag will be subject to a fee. 
  • The notices shall be posted at the public entrance to the retail establishment and at each point of sale and shall be in English and Spanish. 
  • The fee charged shall be paid by the customer. 
  • The sales receipt shall reflect both the number of bags provided to the customer and the fee collected for the bags. 
  • Following the rollout, enforcement will be complaint-driven, through on-line reporting or a hot line, and enforced by the City’s Division of Code Enforcement. 

For additional information, contact Michele Blair, Environmental Programs Manger at 301-725-5300 ext. 2203 or mblair@laurel.md.us.

Example of the City of Laurel's Flyer for the Updated 
Ordinance No. 2008 in English and Spanish.
Bag Ordinance No. 2008, Fee for Bags
Bag Ordinance No. 2008, Fee for Bags in Spanish
Ordinance No. 2008 FAQ Header
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