It has been a long time coming - but as of Friday, October 1, 2021 - Philadelphia’s ban on single-use plastic bags is in effect.
The ban, which was passed in 2019 but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prevents stores from giving customers single-use plastic bags or non-recyclable paper bags. Businesses that are not complying will only be given a warning through April 1, 2022, at which point full enforcement – meaning fines starting at $75 per violation and possible further action in court – will begin.
Why a ban?
Philadelphia uses an estimated one billion plastic bags per year.
The Water Department found that plastic bags comprise approximately 20% of all floatables found in Philadelphia’s waterways.
Additionally, the city’s recycling plant reports that plastic bags cause multiple plant shutdowns every day.
At SEPTA, plastic bags clog trash receptacles, blow on to track areas and right-aways, and cause delays when caught in overhead wires.
There's a growing movement across the country and around the world for consumers to purchase and bring their own reusable bags when shopping.
While they cost a little more up front, there are many benefits of reusable bags beyond the environmental benefits. Unlike plastic bags, reusable bags are unlikely to have their handle tear off or to develop a hole if the corner of a box or other sharp products press into them. Reusable bags are easier to use for both loading and unloading groceries, and your purchases are more likely to survive the trip to and from the store. Leaks are less likely to be a problem with reusable bags, and it’s easier to control where reusable bags have been and what germs they may carry.
Another reason is - because you can. If it’s hard to imagine life without plastic grocery bags - consider this: plastic grocery bags were introduced at grocery stores in 1977 - according to Waste Management Northwest. Generations of people over thousands of years got along just fine using their own bags to carry their purchases home — and you can, too! When it comes to plastic bags vs. reusable bags - the choice is obvious.
Need a reusable tote? Send us an email with your address and we'll drop one in the mail (while supplied last).