Single Use Carry Out Plastic Bag Ordinance

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BYOB, Radnor...Bring Your Own Bag!


Why launch the BYOB, Radnor! campaign?

Americans use billions of plastic bags each year; plastic bags require fossil fuels to produce and are not degradable. They pollute our land, air, and water, and when they do break down into small particles, they are ultimately consumed by animals, including humans. From an overall environmental and economic perspective, the best alternative to plastic is a shift to reusable, compostable, or recyclable paper bags. 

Many neighboring municipalities have adopted plastic bag ordinances, including: PhiladelphiaWest ChesterHaverfordNarberth, Easttown, Tredyffrin, and others. Thanks to Radnor's Environmental Advisory Council and the Board of Commissioners, Radnor Township joins our neighbors in this effort to keep our environment safe and clean.

Plastic Bag Ordinance Information

Plastic Bag Org Timetable -- December 12, 2022

The Radnor Township Board of Commissioners approved a single use plastic carry out bag ban effective September 15, 2022, making Radnor the 10th municipality in Pennsylvania to pass legislation banning such bags. (Ordinance No. 2022-11)

The ban affects certain retail businesses such as restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, and other general merchandise retailers. It does not apply to dry cleaners, product packaging or bags used to wrap raw food products. 

Retailers and residents will have six months from effective date to comply (March 15, 2023). This plastic bag reduction effort allows retailers to use up their existing inventory of single-use bags. Retailers may sell recyclable paper bags or reusable bags and customers are encouraged to BYOB...Bring Your Own Bag, Radnor!

A commercial establishment may sell to consumers recyclable paper bags or reusable bags at the point of sale, if such bags are provided to the consumer for a charge of not less than $0.10 per bag. 
  1. All monies collected by a commercial establishment under this subsection for the distribution of a recyclable paper bag or reusable bag shall be retained by the commercial establishment.
  2. Any charge for a recyclable paper bag or reusable shall be separately stated on any receipt provided to the customer at the time of sale and shall be identified as a "Carry-Out Bag Charge'' thereon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Commercial Establishments are Affected by the Ordinance?

Any person, corporation, partnership, business venture, or vendor that sells or provides merchandise, goods. or materials directly to a customer. whether or not for profit, including, but not limited to, restaurants (eat-in and/or take-out food), bars, pharmacies, convenience and grocery stores, seasonal and temporary businesses or markets, retail stores, or other similar nonresidential uses. For purposes of this Chapter, Commercial Establishments shall not include bazaars, festivals, food banks, food pantries, senior citizen centers or similar meal centers operated by nonprofit or governmental organizations or religious institutions. 

Which Types of Bags are Exempt?

A bag without handles used inside a Commercial Establishment by a customer to deliver perishable items to the point of-sale at that establishment. Such bags shall include:

  1. Bags used to package bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, or candy
  2. Bags used to contain or wrap meats or fish; to contain or wrap frozen foods; or to contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods 
  3. Bags used solely to contain live animals, such as fish or insects sold in a pet store.

This definition also covers bags sold in packaging containing multiple bags and packaged at the time of manufacture of the bag. 

Which Businesses are Exempt?

The Board of Commissioners may, upon written request of a commercial establishment, exempt such commercial establishment from the requirements of this chapter for a period up to one year from the effective date, upon a finding by the Township that the requirements of this chapter would cause undue hardship to that commercial establishment. An undue hardship shall be found only in the following circumstances or situations, and the Township may attach conditions to the provision of any exemption:

  • The commercial establishment has a unique circumstance or situation such that there are no reasonable alternatives to the distribution of single-use plastic carry-out bags and/or nonrecyclable paper bags;
  • Compliance with the requirements of this chapter would deprive the commercial establishment of a legally protected right; or
  • Additional time is necessary to draw down the commercial establishment's existing inventory of single-use plastic carry-out bags and/or nonrecyclable paper bags.

How is the Ordinance Enforced?

A person or commercial establishment that violates the requirements of this chapter shall be guilty of a summary offense and, upon conviction thereof in any District Justice Court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, shall:

  • Be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $50 for a first offense;
  • Be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $100 for a second offense; and
  • Be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $200 for a third or any subsequent offense.
  • Under no circumstances shall a violator be liable to a fine or penalty exceeding $600 for each offense. In addition, a violator shall be responsible for the costs of prosecution, including attorney's fees.
  • Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense under this chapter. In addition, each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct offense.
  • In addition to the penalties set forth in this chapter, the Township may seek legal, injunctive, or other equitable relief to enforce this chapter or to restrain, prevent, or abate a violation of this chapter in the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County. The expense of such proceedings shall be recoverable from the violator in any manner as may now or hereafter be provided by law.
  • The failure of the Township to enforce any provision of this chapter shall not constitute a waiver of its rights to future enforcement of such provision hereunder.
  • To report non-compliance, please email us

Download a Bring Your Own Bag, Radnor Poster

Download and print the BYOB, Radnor poster for display. You can also pick up a copy of the poster at the Radnor Township Municipal Building.

Click one of the images below to download the poster:

Bring Your Own Bag Poster        

Education: Plastic Pollution

The Negative Impacts of Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic bags provide convenience. But when this convenience is weighed against their negative implications, it’s easy to see why plastic is a detriment and just not the best solution.

Single-use plastic bags are recyclable, but recycling rates of these bags are very low. Disposable plastic bags are likely to become stuck in recycling processing equipment which is a hassle and slows down the entire operation. Most recycling facilities refuse to accept them due to the added complication. Since it is hard for most people to recycle single-use plastic bags, they end up in landfills or as litter.

Discarded plastic bags pose a risk to animals and their habitats. Animals may eat the plastic bags mistaking them for food which can lead to serious health problems and even death. When animals become tangled in bags they may be unable to protect and fend for themselves. These plastic litter complications can have larger impacts beyond wildlife. Studies have shown that plastic litter has an impact on the food chain, so you and your family may end up facing consequences as a result of plastic litter.

The Reality of Plastic Bags:

  • Made from nonrenewable resources
  • Not biodegradable
  • Likely to end up as litter
  • Can kill animals, particularly marine animals that mistake plastic bags as food

Reusable Bags & Your Impact

You can have a big impact by switching to reusable bags. There are many estimates as to just how many single-use plastic bags are replaced by using one reusable grocery bag for one year or a lifetime. The estimates range from a savings of 100 bags a year to 700 bags per year.

The main advantage of reusable bags is that they can do everything plastic bags can do, without the negative environmental impact. Reusable bags are constructed from recycled or sustainable materials and are designed to be used multiple times.

The Reality of Reusable Bags:

  • Made from recycled or sustainable materials
  • Constructed to be used multiple times
  • Do not significantly contribute to litter
  • Likely to be disposed of in a responsible manner

By bringing a reusable bag to the store, citizens can do their part to make meaningful change for Radnor Township by supporting a green, clean environment. BYOB, Radnor!