Baltimore City Postpones Plastic Bag Ban Due to COVID-19

Today, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott signed an Executive Order postponing implementation of the City’s ban on plastic bags that was set to take effect later this month.

The start date of the Comprehensive Bag Reduction ordinance will be temporarily pushed back to July 9, 2021 to ease pressure on retailers during the COVID-19 crisis and allow the City more time to best implement the law. The ordinance, commonly know as Baltimore’s bag ban, prohibits retailers from providing plastic bags at checkout that are less than 4 millimeters thick unless the bag is to contain certain products. Retailers must also charge customers a five-cent surcharge on other types of single-use bags. Retailers are able to keep four cents to cover their administrative costs.

From the press release:

“I am fully committed to making Baltimore a more sustainable and environmentally aware city, and enacting the plastic bag ban is one important step toward that goal,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “However, as we continue to face the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, it’s clear that we need more time to get the implementation of this ban right for our businesses and residents. Over the next 6 months, my administration will work hand-in-hand with our agencies to strengthen outreach to our retailers so they fully understand the impacts of this law and step up our efforts to provide reusable bags to Baltimoreans, all while we navigate this unprecedented pandemic. These changes will not happen overnight, and will not come easy as we continue to battle COVID-19. But I know that with the support of our businesses and residents, taking these small steps now will have a tremendous impact in the future.”

Just last week, Washington state postponed their ban on plastic bags.

Useful Links:

Mayor Scott Press Release

Executive Order

Comprehensive Bag Reduction Ordinance