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This new law is the result of eco-friendly legislation aimed at improving our environment by curbing the distribution of single-use plastic bags and making a shift to reusable bags. Plastic bags can escape into our waterways and the ocean, where they are harmful to animals. They break down into smaller pieces of plastic that enter the food chain of animals and eventually that of humans.
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The Ordinance went into effect on November 1, 2018.
Most retail establishments are subject to the new Ordinance, including:
There is no exemption for small retailers.
The County Ordinance and the Municipal Ordinances are uniform in their restrictions and exemptions regarding single-use plastic bags.
Plastic bags considered disposable and not reusable are prohibited. This includes all disposable plastic bags provided at checkout or point-of-sale.
The following types of plastic bags are allowed for the following uses:
Yes. Plastic bags that are used inside stores for bulk foods and other items, for meats and produce, unwrapped bakery goods, flowers, and other similar items are allowed. Only disposable plastic bags used at retail checkout are prohibited.
Clothing stores must follow the same requirements as other retailers.
Business establishments are encouraged to provide customers with reusable carryout bags or recyclable paper bags.
A reusable carryout bag is a carryout bag that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple uses and meets the following criteria:
Information is posted on the Town’s website. The Town of Bluffton will continue to inform through social media, news media, and other means to reach retailers and customers.
Business processes should be adjusted accordingly to accommodate prohibitions and exemptions for the distribution of single-use plastic bags, as specified in the Ordinance and summarized in this FAQ.
The Ordinance is enforceable as of November 1, 2018. Business establishments are encouraged to allow current stock of single-use plastic bags to diminish prior to November 1, 2018. Retailers who are part of a national or regional retail company are encouraged to begin modifying their logistics processes as soon as possible in order to be compliant by November 1, 2018.
Please email Debbie Szpanka, the Town’s Public Information Officer or call her office at 843-706-4534 if you have further questions.