Plastic Bag Ban
WHAT IS IT?
The Town of Easton's plastic bag ban prohibits retail establishments from providing single-use plastic bags to customers. The plastic bag ban was approved by the Town via Ordinance 784, which passed on 9/6/2022. The ordinance can be viewed in detail here.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
As of 4/2/2023, retail establishments can no longer provide single-use plastic bags to customers. Retail establishments may offer customers paper bags for a fee of not less than $0.10 per bag. This $0.10 fee will be kept by the retailer. The intended goal is for customers to use reusable bags in order to cut down on the massive amounts of waste and litter caused by single use plastic bags.
Reusable bags are defined as: bags made of polypropylene, PET non-woven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp product, or other machine washable fabric that has stitched handles; and is designed and manufactured for multiple reuses.
Retailers in violation of this ordinance will be subject to:
First offense: A written warning
Second Offense: A fine, not to exceed $25
Subsequent Offenses: A fine, not to exceed $50
There are some exceptions to allow the distribution of single use plastic bags which include: fresh fish, meat, and poultry products; otherwise unpackaged fruits, nuts, vegetables, confectionary, fresh cheese, or baked goods, food and goods obtained at a farmers' market, prescription drugs obtained from a pharmacy; newspapers; dry-cleaned or laundered items, packages of multiple bags intended for use for disposition of garbage, food storage, pet waste, or yard waste; plant material, flowers or potted plants to prevent spoilage of the item or moisture damage to other purchases; live creatures such as fish, insects, mollusks, or crustaceans from a retail establishment selling such items in the normal course of business; freshly-prepared hot or cold food, including sliced deli and foods prepared to order.
WHERE DOES IT APPLY?
The plastic bag ban applies to all retail establishments within Easton's town limits.
WHEN DOES IT TAKE EFFECT?
The plastic bag ban goes into effect on 4/2/2023.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
There are a multitude of reasons why the plastic bag ban was passed that provide fiscal, environmental, and aesthetic benefits to the Town of Easton. Single use plastic bags:
- Burden publicly financed landfills, with significant costs to the public for cleanup and disposal
- Are a frequent source of litter and pollution, constituting a nuisance and an eyesore, and detracting from the natural beauty of the Town and the Eastern Shore
- Cause sorting machines to break down, causing delays and adding repair costs
- Utilize fossil fuels during production that generate greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change
- Break down into microplastics, which contaminate the soil and water and can pose threats to marine life and enter the food chain
- Represent a significant hazard to marine animals and birds, with hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals dying every year from ingesting discarded plastic bags mistaken for food, as well as land animals that ingest plastic bags, choke on them, and suffer intestinal blockage, leading to death.