PHILADELPHIA, PA — Implementation of Philadelphia’s plastic bag ordinance will reach an important milestone on Friday, October 1, 2021, when the ban on stores giving plastic bags to customers kicks in. The ban, which was originally passed by City Council in December 2019, prohibits businesses from using single-use plastic bags for purchases beginning Friday, October 1, 2021. This follows a period of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An extensive education and awareness period began when the law’s implementation began on July 1, 2021. Though businesses will be prohibited from using plastic bags beginning October 1, there will be an additional six-month awareness, education, and warning period before full enforcement begins in order to provide businesses with ample time to prepare and comply with the law.
Philadelphia City Council passed the Single-use Plastic Bag Ban as a major advancement toward cleaning up Philadelphia’s streets and waterways and reducing plastic waste. Businesses must hang signage to inform customers of the ban; signage is available online for businesses to download. To ensure businesses have ample time to comply with the law, from October 1, 2021, to April 1, 2022, the City will only issue warnings to businesses that are not in compliance; after April 1, 2022, the City will begin to fully enforce the ban.
“Even as we continue to confront challenges presented by the global pandemic, the climate crisis and plastic pollution remain two very serious threats to our planet and society,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “Philadelphia remains committed to advancing our environmental goals, and the ban on single-use plastic bags will be an important step forward to achieve those goals. We also understand this is a major change for businesses, which is why we built out an extended education and warning period to ensure widespread awareness of the law to our diverse business owners and to residents and consumers.”
To assist businesses through this transition, the City is providing various resources, all of which are available on a new webpage at phila.gov/plastic-bag-ban. Resources available include:
- Signage—in multiple languages—that businesses can download, print, and hang at points of sale
- A flyer that answers frequently asked questions about the ban.
- A list of vendors that carry reusable or paper checkout bags that meet the City’s plastic bag ban requirements can also be found on the webpage.
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