On March 12, 2018, the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting (RTM) passed the Reusable Checkout Bag Ordinance, banning the distribution of plastic and non compliant paper checkout bags in the Town of Greenwich.
The ban becomes effective on September 12, 2018.
What is a plastic checkout bag?
Plastic checkout bag is defined in the ordinance as: a bag that is less than 12 mil thick, that is made of plastic derived from fossil fuels or from a genetically modified organism bio-based source (such as corn or other plant sources), which is provided at checkout to transport items purchased from or provided by a business establishment.
Who is affected by this ordinance?
All Business Establishments operating in the Town of Greenwich.
Business Establishment is defined in the ordinance as: any person, business or non-profit entity that sells or provides merchandise, goods or materials, including, without limitation, clothing, food, or personal items of any kind, directly to a consumer, and includes, by way of example and not limitation, any grocery store, grocery delivery service, department store, hardware store, pharmacy, liquor store, restaurant, catering truck, convenience store, hospital, library, school, including temporary vendors at farmers markets, street fairs and school or Town sponsored events and facilities.
When does this ordinance take effect?
September 12, 2018
What types of bags can I use?
- Reusable Checkout Bags.
Reusable Checkout Bag is defined in the ordinance as: a bag that is provided by a Business Establishment that is designed and manufactured for multiple reuses and meets all of the following requirements: can be cleaned or disinfected, does not contain lead, cadmium, or any other toxic materials that can be harmful to public health, has a minimum lifetime of 125 uses, as defined means the capability of carrying a minimum of 22lbs 125 times over a distance of at least 175ft and if made from plastic, has a minimum thickness of 12mil.
- Recycled Paper Checkout Bags.
RPCB is defined in the ordinance as: a bag that contains no old growth fiber and a minimum of 40% post consumer recycled content, is 100% recyclable and has printed in a highly visible manner on the bag the words "Reusable" and "Recyclable", the name and location of the manufacturer and the percentage of post consumer recycled content. (for bag print examples & sources: click the Bag Resources tab in the header above)
Are there exemptions?
Yes, Product Bags.
Product bag is defined in the ordinance as: a single use plastic or paper non checkout bag to include, but limited to, newspaper bags, door-hanger bags. laundry dry cleaning bags, bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for use as garbage, pet waste bags, yard waste bags, and bags that are used by consumers inside stores to: package bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, grains, candy; contain or wrap foods, meat, fish, whether packaged or not; contain flowers, potted plants or other items where dampness may be a problem; contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods; contain pharmacy prescriptions; or safeguard public health during the transportation of hospital waste.
What happens if I do not comply?
If it is determined that a violation of the bag ordinance has occurred, the Conservation Commission or its designee shall issue a written warning notice to the Business Establishment for the initial violation.
If an additional violation of the ordinance has occurred after a warning notice has been issued for an initial violation, the Conservation Commission or its designee shall issue a notice of violation and shall impose a penalty against the Business Establishment.
The penalty for each violation that occurs after the issuance of the warning notice shall be: 1) $150 for the first offense; 2) $250 for the second offense and all subsequent offenses.
1st - Warning
2nd - $150 penalty
3rd - $250 penalty
My store just substituted paper for plastic bags, that isn't source reduction.
We agree, stores shouldn't just substitute paper for plastic bags. Below is a "retrain the brain" flyer that you can print and hand out to your favorite stores. We all are working to change our habits for the good of Greenwich.
Want to prepare your customers/members/students/clubs/workers/residents/constituents?
Downloadable PDFs below.
BYO BagForTheGoodOfGreenwich IV copy (pdf)Download
BYOG AtAGlance Ordinance (pdf)Download
BagOrdinance BYOG Rollout FlyerA (8.5x11) (pdf)Download
Bag Ordinance BYOG Rollout FlyerB (8.5x11) (pdf)Download
Bag Ordinance BYOG Rollout PosterA (11x17) (pdf)Download
Bag Ordinance BYOG Rollout PosterB (11x17) (pdf)Download
BYOGreenwich Whale Round Sticker (jpg)Download
BYOG Rollout TentCard (pdf)Download
BYOGreenwich Whaledelic Sticker (jpg)Download
Sutton Brown Mock Sticker (JPG)Download
List of current US plastic bag ordinances
Additional Bag Legislation USA and International
Several cities with good additional ordinance related information:
China bans foreign waste (WBUR, 2018)
Bag ban working in the UK (The Independent, UK, April 2018)
Do Plastic Bag Bans Work? (Scientific American Magazine, October 2014)
Plastic Bag Charge in Scotland Sees Usage Cut by 80%(BBC News, October 2015)
Sutton's "Break Free From Plastic" illustrations turn reusable bags into a work of art.
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small changes = big impact