Plastic Bags Banned
A long anticipated ban on the use of plastic single-use bags at point of sale went into effect in Takoma Park last week, on December 1. The City Council, known for its progressive stance when it comes to sustainable policies and practices, passed the ordinance earlier this year after much consideration and discussion about the ban.
“We in Takoma Park, Maryland have been a national leader in the preservation of natural resources and the environment,” said Councilmember Jarrett Smith who initially proposed the ban. “With this plastic bag ban, our tenacity for all things that protect the environment continues…Sligo Creek, the Chesapeake Bay, and other environmental treasures will always be a priority for our city.”
Mayor Kate Stewart echoed these sentiments: “Takoma Park is proud of its dedication to protect the environment and create a sustainable community. Our deep commitment is exemplified by our willingness to pioneer new programs, stemming back to the early days of recycling and tree protection laws.”
The plastic bag ban is one of many “green” city policies geared towards reducing environmental degradation resulting from the widespread use of products that can have negative environmental consequences. The city also has a Safe Grow Act which places restrictions on the use of harmful cosmetic pesticides for lawn care on public and private property, a ban on the use of polystyrene packaging and food-service ware within the city, and a curbside food waste collection program available to all city residents who receive curbside trash and recycling pickup.
The plastic bag ban does provide a few exceptions, including dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags where newspapers are delivered by the publisher, and non-point of sale plastic bags such as those used for raw or bulk items like produce, grains, candy, and small hardware items. Farmers markets within the city are exempt from the ban for the first year, until December 1, 2017, at which point they may provide compostable plastic bags to customers.
While it was initially expected to be in full force as of December 1, the emphasis for the first 90 days of the new ordinance will focus on education and outreach to local business.
For full text of the ordinance, please visit https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/ordinances/2016/ordinance-2016-31.pdf.
To view our plastic bag ban resource page, pleas visit https://takomaparkmd.gov/initiatives/plastic-bag-ban/