The nationwide trend of imposing fees to deter the use of plastic or paper bags at grocery stores and other retailers (or banning them altogether) continues to pick up steam.

Many towns and cities across the country have imposed fees designed to curtail the use of plastic and paper bags at checkout.

  • For nearly 10 years, Washington D.C. has required all businesses that sell food or alcohol to charge 5 cents for each carryout paper or plastic bag.
  • In 2014, California imposed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at large retail stores, while also requiring a 10-cent minimum charge for the use of recycled paper bags, reusable plastic bags, and compostable bags. While the ban has been challenged, it remains the law.
  • Most populated areas in Hawaii also ban the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags at checkout, as well as paper bags containing less than 40 percent recycled material.

Now we can add New Jersey to the list. In June, New Jersey lawmakers narrowly passed a bill to place a statewide 5-cent fee on single-use plastic and paper bags. The bill now awaits the governor’s signature. In the meantime, many municipalities have either already imposed or plan to impose their own, similar fees.

Businesses Respond

What is your company doing to address this growing trend … if anything?

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