Bag it Right (Better Bag Bill)

BIR-header

CB-032-2023   
Better Bag Bill

Effective January 1, 2024, Prince George’s County prohibits all retail establishments from providing plastic carryout bags to shoppers and, with certain exceptions*, shall charge at least 10 cents for each paper carryout or reusable bag provided to a customer. To assist residents in making the transition, the County will provide a limited amount of free reusable bags and will announce distribution dates and locations once finalized.

Read the Better Bag Bill Press Release from August 30, 2023.

 

Why the ban?

  • To protect the environment and marine life and reduce litter. 
  • Plastic carryout bags are not recyclable at the County’s recycling facility and impose costs to county government and 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, and their production results in harmful greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of their life cycle, from extraction to production to disposal, contributing to climate change.   
  • The County Council finds that the use of single-use carryout bags by consumers at retail establishments is detrimental to the environment, public health, and welfare of County residents and that it is in the best interests of maintaining the health, safety, and welfare of County residents and visitors to reduce the distribution of single-use carryout bags and incentivize the use of reusable bags by prohibiting provision of single-use plastic carryout bags and requiring retailers to charge at least 10 cents for each paper bag.   
     

Who is affected?

All retail stores, restaurants, grocery stores, or any other establishment that provides single-use plastic bags to its customers due to the sale of a product or service, whether for-profit or not-for-profit.

Exemptions for plastic bags used to:

  • Package bulk items, including fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items;
  • Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, or fish, whether prepackaged or not;
  • Contain or wrap flowers, potted plants, or other damp items;
  • Contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods;
  • Protect or contain garments or dry–cleaned clothes; protect suits, dresses, and formal wear; 
  • Take live fish, insects, mollusks, or crustaceans away from the retail store.

The mandatory minimum charge for paper carryout bags is waived for: 

  • Paper bags containing prescription drugs
  • Paper bags containing prepared food provided at the drive-through window of a restaurant
  • Paper bags provided by a full-service restaurant after a meal for leftovers

What is a reusable bag? 

RRD BIR-Tile1

"Reusable Carryout Bag" means a bag with stitched handles specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuses and is either:

  • Made of cloth or other washable fabric; or

  • Made of a durable material suitable for multiple re-use that is not made of plastic film.

 

 

 

Why is a minimum 10-cent fee imposed for paper and reusable?

The charge for retailer-provided paper and reusable bags incentivizes customers to bring their own and reduces the demand for single-use items. The retailer retains the fee in full to help offset the costs associated with the purchase and the option of providing paper bags and reusable bags. Each bag purchased from the retailer will be itemized on the customer’s receipt, just as all other merchandise purchased.

 

Do I have to use a bag for my purchases?

To avoid a fee, shoppers are encouraged to bring their reusable bags while shopping. Some stores may provide cardboard boxes that shoppers may use to package their items, or a person may bring their own box. Cardboard can be used multiple times and should be flattened before recycling in our curbside collections.

 

Plan Now. Start Bringing Your Reusable Bag When You Shop!

Enforcement

  • The Department of the Environment shall oversee the enforcement of this ordinance.
  • A retail establishment that violates the provisions of this Division is subject to a civil penalty not exceeding $500. 
  • The provision of one or more plastic carryout bags at a single point of sale is a single violation.
  • Failure to charge the amount of money required to provide one or more paper or reusable carryout bags at a single point of sale is a single violation

A penalty may not be imposed under this section unless a retail establishment: 

  • Is first issued a written notice of violation.
  • Does not correct the violation within seven days after receipt of the written notice.
  • During the first 90 days of implementation, the County will provide a three-month grace period to businesses before imposing any citations with monetary penalties. 

 

Download Printable Resources

Help spread the word! Download, print, display, and share various materials including fact sheet, window and register displays, and social media below. 

Copy of legislation CB-32-2023 (English)

RRD BIR-FAQ eng

Frequently Asked Questions 
(FAQ)

English
Amharic
Chinese
French
Korean
Spanish
Vietnamese

RRD Bag it right fact sheet v2

Fact Sheet

English
Amharic
Chinese
French
Korean
Spanish
Vietnamese

Business Resources

  • Businesses located in the incorporated municipalities (city limits) of the City of Laurel, City of College Park, City of Greenbelt, or another municipality should consult with the perspective municipality for associated laws and regulations within their jurisdiction.
  • Establishments must indicate on the customers' receipts the number of paper or reusable carryout bags provided by the establishment and the amount charged.
  • This is not a tax to businesses.  The minimum ten cents charged for paper or reusable bags is charged by and paid directly to the retailer to help offset their cost of purchasing and providing reusable and paper bags. The government does not receive any of the money from the bag fee.
  • The charge for retailer-provided paper and reusable bags incentivizes customers to bring their own bags and reduces the demand for single-use items. The retailer retains the fee in full. Each bag purchased from the retailer will be itemized on the customer's receipt, just as all other merchandise purchased. 

     

Displays for Retailers (windows and registers)

English 
Cashier cards
8.5" x 11"
8.5" x 14"
11" x 14"
Spanish/Español
Cashier cards
8.5" x 11"
8.5" x 14"
11" x 14"
RRD BIR cashiercard

 

Social Media

Tile 1 (English & Spanish)
Tile 2 (English)
Tile 2 (Spanish)
Tile 3 (English)
Tile 3 (Spanish)
Tile 4 (English)
Tile 4 (Spanish)

 

Relevant environmental business legislation