In August 2019, Ordinance 19-14 was passed by Town Council establishing a $0.25 per bag fee on both paper and plastic disposable bags, recognizing that the use of all disposable shopping bags has significant environmental impacts on a local and global scale, including increasing greenhouse gas emissions, litter, harm to wildlife, water consumption and solid waste generation. Despite recycling and voluntary efforts to control pollution from disposable bags, relatively few disposable bags are recycled. Plastic bags last for decades in landfill, litter the environment, use precious resources, impede drainage systems, and impact wildlife.
The disposable bag fee program began January 1, 2020 and was temporarily suspended on March 31, 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. In July 2020, Town Council lifted the suspension as there was no evidence that reusable bags increased the likelihood of spreading COVID-19.
On January 26, 2021, Council passed Ordinance 21-01 banning disposable plastic bags and paper bags with less than 40% post-consumer recycled material, and continuing the single-use bag fee of $0.25 for paper bags only. Effective September 1, 2023, the existing ordinance will be updated with Ordinance 23-19 to specify that paper bags will be required to be made of 100% post-consumer recycled material. Restaurants are also included in this program, which is a departure from the original bag fee program passed in 2019, but will still be exempt from charging and remitting the $0.25 bag fee. An exemption also exists to allow retailers and restaurants alike to continue distributing existing inventory even they do not comply with the new updates, understanding that all new inventory purchases must comply.
Despite the bag fee program implemented January 1, 2020, many single-use bags are still being used and end up in the landfill, litter the environment, use precious resources, impede drainage systems, and impact wildlife. A ban on single-use plastic bags and paper bags with less than 100% post-consumer recycled material addresses environmental concerns while still allowing businesses to offer their customers single-use paper bags that are recyclable and more biodegradable than plastic bags. To allow businesses to plan for this change and to use current paper bag inventories, the updates to this ordinance will not go into effect until September 1, 2023.
Please complete the appropriate remittance worksheet below:
Fees should be remitted on a quarterly basis. The following methods are available for remittance: