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Bring Your Own Bag Bill

Bring Your Own Bag Bill

Bring Your Own Bag Bill

On January 1, 2024 the City of Greenbelt’s Bring Your Own Bag ordinance, and Prince George’s County’s similar Better Bag Bill, go into effect to reduce single-use plastic bag use and litter.

What does this mean? Greenbelt retail establishments will be prohibited from providing plastic carryout bags to shoppers. If a customer requests a paper bag or reusable bag at the point of sale, the customer must pay at least 10 cents for each bag, with certain exceptions.

Who is affected? All retail stores, restaurants, grocery stores, or any other establishment that provides single-use plastic bags to its customers, whether for-profit or not-for-profit.

Why? To protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the city and to prevent and remove public nuisances. To protect the environment and marine life. Plastic carryout bags are rarely recyclable and impose costs to local and county government, taxpayers in the form of removal of litter and repair and wear-and-tear on recycling machinery due to the improper disposal of plastic bags in recycling bins. Single-use plastic bags are made from fossil fuels, contributing to climate change.

Which bags are banned? Only single-use plastic film bags given at the point of sale are banned. It does not include a plastic or paper bag used to package or contain bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items; fresh meat or seafood; flowers, potted plants, or other damp items; unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods; dry-cleaned clothes; or a plastic bag used to take live fish, insects, mollusks, or crustaceans away from the retail establishment.

How does the paper bag fee work? Greenbelt retail establishments must charge at least 10 cents for each paper or reusable bag provided at the point of sale, except for paper bags: containing prescription medications provided by a pharmacy; given by full service restaurants for customers to take leftovers; and for food provided at fast food restaurant take out windows. The entire bag charge is kept by the retailer, none by the City of Greenbelt.

What should you do? Bring your own bags when shopping or take purchases without a bag. Greenbelt businesses not complying with the ban may be fined. Shoppers, please comply. Don’t place our Greenbelt businesses in an awkward position by asking for an exception.

For more information and a link to the direct ordinance, visit www.greenbeltmd.gov/BYOBO.

Questions? Email lrobles@greenbeltmd.gov.