Upper Dublin to enact plastic bag ban for retail establishments in September

The Upper Dublin Township Board of Commissioners announced today that a plastic bag ban will begin later this year.

Effective September 8 (180 days from the enactment of the ordinance), retail establishments in Upper Dublin Township will be prohibited from providing single-use plastic bags or bags that do not qualify as reusable bags to a customer at the retail establishment or through a delivery.

Retailers may provide the consumer compliant recyclable paper bags for a charge of $0.10 per bag, or reusable carryout bags of cloth or polypropylene with stitched handles, for a charge established by the retailer. Any charges for reusable paper or cloth bags must be listed separately on the consumer’s receipt and identified as the “carry-out bag charge” or equivalent language.

Beginning September 8, and for six months thereafter, retail establishments must post conspicuous signage at all points of sale. Signage must inform customers that as of September 8, single-use plastic bags and non-recyclable paper bags will no longer be provided by the establishment and explain the types of bags and purchases which will be impacted.

The ordinance provides exemptions for the following bags: a bag used to package bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, or candy; a bag used to contain or wrap meats or fish, unwrapped prepared foods, or bakery goods; a bag used solely to contain live animals, such as fish or insects sold in a pet store; a bag sold in packaging containing multiple bags and packaged at the time of manufacture of the bag.

Retail establishments are required to be fully compliant with the regulations no later than September 8. After this date, businesses will be subject to a written warning for a first offense; a penalty of $100.00 for a second offense; a penalty of $200.00 for a third offense; and a penalty of $500.00 for a fourth or any subsequent offense.

Numerous studies have documented the prevalence of single-use plastic and non-recyclable bags littering the environment, blocking storm drains, entering local waterways, and becoming stuck in or upon natural resources and public property. The taxpayers of the Township pay the costs related to the cleanup of single-use bags from the roadways, trees, sewers, waters, and parks within the Township.

It is the Township’s desire to conserve resources; reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, waste, litter, water pollution; and to protect public health and welfare, including wildlife and aquatic life, all of which increases the quality of life for the Township’s residents and visitors to the Township.

As required by the Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution, the Board of Commissioners also seeks to preserve the natural, scenic, historic, and aesthetic values of the Township.

The Upper Dublin Township Board of Commissioners appreciate the compliance of all retail establishments within Upper Dublin Township. More information for consumers and retail establishments can be found on the Township website at www.upperdublin.net/plasticbags.

The Board adopted Ordinance #24-1389, which regulates single-use plastic bags, on March 12.