Plastic Bag and Plastic Straw Regulations
On December 17, 2021, the West Goshen Township Board of Supervisors approved a single-use plastic carry-out bag and single-use plastic straw ban effective April 22, 2022.
The ban is codified in Ordinance No. 16-2021, which amends the Township code to add a new Chapter 61, titled “Plastic Bag and Plastic Straw Regulations,” to regulate the distribution and use of single-use plastic carry-out bags and single-use plastic straws; and to add findings, definitions, requirements, enforcement, penalties, and exemptions relating to the distribution and use of these items.
On September 6, 2022, the Board of Supervisors adopted Ordinance No. 3-2022, which amended Chapter 61 (Plastic Bags & Plastic Straws) of the Township's Code of Ordinances. This ordinance amended the definitions of "Compliant Bag" and "Single-Use Plastic Bag" to establish a minimum thickness criteria and prohibit any plastic bag manufactured through the blown-film extrusion process. The ordinance also established a 15-day time period for an establishment in violation to file for an exemption. A copy of this ordinance is available on this page.
The ban only affects certain retail businesses such as restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, and other general merchandise retailers.
Ordinance 16-2021 can be viewed and downloaded here.
Ordinance 3-2022 can be viewed and downloaded here.
Public Informational Meetings
Two public meetings open to businesses and interested residents have been scheduled to present information and answer questions about the ban:
- What are the key reasons behind the Township’s ban on single-use plastic bags and straws?
- To reduce litter. If not disposed of properly, these bags and straws litter our streets, waterways, commercial corridors, and adversely affect marine life and birds.
- To save money and keep staff safe. Plastic bags are not recyclable curbside yet are often placed in recycling bins. Once at the recycling facility, the bags get caught in the equipment. This is dangerous for recycling center staff and costs the Township money. Each year, plastic bags account for hours of lost staff time at our recycling facility.
- To make the Township cleaner, reduce waste, and save taxpayer dollars. No bag option is without impact, so reducing waste means cutting down on the use of paper bags as well. We urge all retailers to encourage their customers to shop with reusable bags.
- When does the ban go into effect?
All business establishments must be compliant by April 22, 2022.
- Which businesses does this affect?
The ban will affect all retail establishments in West Goshen Township that make bags available for carryout and/or delivery items such as food, clothing, home goods, etc. These businesses include indoor and outdoor establishments that offer food or other products to the public for sale and that generate a sales tax or use tax. Among them are:
- What is actually banned?
- All single-use plastic bags. This includes all bags regardless of their thickness. These bags are primarily created through a “blown film extrusion” process, which is how almost all plastic bags using plastic film are created.
- Bags made from PLA (polylactic acid).
- Any paper bag that does not contain at least 40% recycled content and does not meet the labeling criteria set forth in the legislation.
- What kind of bags can businesses provide?
Businesses can still provide reusable bags and compliant paper bags that meet certain criteria. For a list of vendors that provide compliant bags, click here
- Reusable bags are permitted if they are:
- Made of nylon, cotton, cloth, polyester, or another material that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple uses.
- Compliant paper bags are permitted if they:
- Contain a minimum of 40% postconsumer recycled material and display the words “recyclable” and/or “reusable” in a highly visible manner on the outside of the bag.
- Can be composted.
- Reusable bags are permitted if they are:
- Does the 40 % recycled content rule apply to all paper bags?
Yes, the rule applies to all paper bags of all sizes.
Report Business Non-Compliance after April 22, 2022
Click here to access a form to report a business that has not complied with the ban after the effective date.
Click here to access a bibliography of publications used to research this topic and help form the rationale for initiating the ban.