By Adam Schlachter and Barbara Blaier
Heading to the store soon? Besides your list, make sure to bring plenty of reusable bags. Effective July 1, the Plastic Carryout Bag Ban expands to all retail stores within Delaware. It completely bans plastic film carryout bags at checkout. Stores may provide paper bags at checkout, no bags at all, or they may sell their own reusable bags. Reusable bags are defined as cloth bags or durable fabric bags with stitched handles.
Are you like many of us who leave our reusable bags in the car or at home? Here are some helpful suggestions:
Already using reusable bags when shopping? Try using reusable produce bags, too!
Maybe you have too many reusable bags. Make someone’s day and give an extra to a neighbor or the person behind you in line at the store. Instead of wrapping a present, give it in a reusable bag, making it two gifts in one.
The original Plastic Carryout Bag Ban passed in 2019 was signed by Governor Carney and went into effect on January 1, 2021. In 2021, the legislature enhanced the Plastic Carryout Bag Ban by completely removing plastic film carryout bags regardless of thickness as well as expanding the ban to all retail stores within Delaware. Restaurants can still use plastic carryout bags of any description and are not required to have an at At-Store Recycling Program.
Not all plastic film bags are banned under the Plastic Carryout Bag Ban. Plastic film bags typically found in stores for produce and other similar items are still allowed to be given out. However, any retailer that provides the exempt bags below is required to set up an At Store Recycling Program and it must be easily accessible to customers. These exemptions include:
Plan for the ban starting in July and remember to #BYOBagDE (Bring Your Own Bag Delaware). For more information go to de.gov/bags for all the details.
Adam Schlachter is an environmental program manager with the DNREC Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances.
Barbara Blaier is an environmental scientist with the DNREC Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances.