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Single-Use Plastics

Carry the Change with Doylestown Township! 

On May 21, 2024, the Doylestown Township Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance to eliminate the use of certain single-use plastic bags at shops and restaurants in Doylestown Township. This regulation aims to reduce the number of plastic bags ending up in the environment, landfills, and incinerators, thereby mitigating long-term health concerns and environmental damage caused by plastic waste. By passing this ordinance, Doylestown Township has joined a growing number of municipalities across the US that are taking action to reduce the impact of single-use plastics in their communities.

As a business affected by this new ordinance, we want to inform you about the upcoming changes. Residents are encouraged to use reusable bags for their local shopping. Merchants can provide paper or reusable bags instead of plastic ones but must charge at least 5 cents per bag, with the fee going directly to the merchant.

The ordinance will take full effect on November 17, 2024. After this date, businesses are prohibited from providing single-use plastic or non-recyclable bags to customers. However, businesses are allowed to use their existing stock of these bags before the prohibition takes effect. The township encourages businesses to transition away from these products voluntarily before the ordinance is enforced.

The full ordinance is available here.

Here is information from the new ordinance that is critical for a business to know.

  1. After November 17, 2024, retail establishments are prohibited from providing single-use plastic or nonrecyclable paper bags at the point of sale.
    a. However, there are types of plastic bags that are exempt from this regulation. For example, plastic bags used to carry bulk items (e.g., produce, bakery items or candy) are exempt. Similarly, bags for prepackaged items (e.g., bread), newspapers, and dry-cleaned items are exempt.
    b. The ordinance provides a further list of exemptions, but if it is not for any of the reasons stated a business is to not use a plastic bag.
  2. The retail establishment may provide reusable bags or recyclable paper bags to customers. But after November 17, 2024, the retailer must charge at least 5 cents for each bag a costumer uses. The bag fee belongs to the retail establishment; this is not a tax.
    a. The paper bags a business provides must contain at least 40% post-consumer recycled content and must have clear labeling as such.
    b. The reusable bags a business provides must be made of washable cloth or polypropylene and have stitched on handles.
  3. Encourage patrons to bring their own reusable bags for shopping during the 6-months before prohibition begins.\
  4. On September 18, 2024, retail establishments must post signage that is in accordance with the township ordinance at all points of sale. These signs must be kept up until March 17, 2025 (180 days after the signs are posted). Signage must inform:
    a. The date prohibition of single-use plastic and nonrecyclable bags begins.
    b. Explains what types of bags and purchases are impacted.
    c. Provides other information the Township may require.


To help businesses comply with the ordinance’s signage requirements, the EAC has created a sign that establishments can download and use. There are graphics for use on social media, email newsletters, and digital signage to help spread the word. 

Download Signage Here


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Why ban plastic bags?
Plastic bags create a portion of the plastic waste that causes damage to the world. These bags are found in, but not limited to, trees, parks, roads, streams, and rivers. These plastic bags do not decompose naturally, and recycling sites state that single-use plastic bags as a major source of contamination within recycling stream; with these bags damaging recycling machines and cause an increase in costs and decrease efficiency. With the banning of plastic bags, it will help to preserve the township’s natural, historic, and esthetic character for all to marvel in.

Which businesses will be affected?
Any retail establishment (means person, corporation, partnership, business venture, or vendor) that sells or provides food, merchandise, goods, or materials for direct sale or delivery to a customer. This applies for both profit and non-profit establishments, which includes but not limited to:

  •  Restaurants (eat-in and/or take-out food)
  • Food trucks
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Bars
  • Pharmacies
  • Convivence and grocery stores
  • Delicatessens
  • Retail stores
  • Delivery services or
  • Other similar non-residential uses.

What will be banned?
The ordinance prohibits the use of the following for both onsite and delivered goods at retail establishments:
- All single-use plastic bags -- meaning a bag that is manufactured from plastic using a blown-film extrusion process.
- Non-recyclable paper bags -- meaning bags that contains old-growth fiber and does not contain at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled content.

What bags are permitted?
Reusable bags that are made of cloth or other machine-washable fabric that has stitched handles, or a polypropylene bag with stitched handles. Not only are they better for the environment than plastic, but they are also more durable.
Recyclable paper bags with no old growth fiber and contains at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled content. These bags must have an easy-to-read label that displays the name of the manufacturer and the percentage of post-consumer recycled content.

Does the 40 percent recycled content rule apply to all paper bags?
Yes, the 40 percent recycled content rule applies to all carry-out bags of any size in retail establishments.

Are any bags exempt?
Yes, there are single-use plastic bags that are exempted from this ordinance, which are:

  • A bag used to package bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, or candy;
  • A bag used to contain or wrap meats or fish; to contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods;
  •  A bag used solely to contain live animals, such as fish or insect sold in a pet store;
  • A bag sold in packaging containing multiple bags and package at the time of manufacture of the bag;
  • Laundry or dry-cleaning bags;
  • Newspaper bags; and
  • Non-handled bags used to protect a purchases item from damaging or contaminating other purchases items when placed in a reusable bag or recycled paper bag.

What are the signage requirements?
Beginning on September 18, 2024, and for 6-months after, retail establishments are required to post at all points of sale signs informing customers that single-use plastic bags and non-recyclable paper bags will no longer be provided by November 17, 2024. Signage must list the types of bags and purchases affected by the ordinance.

What are important dates?
The ordinance was duly enacted on May 21, 2024. The signage date, the date retail establishments must post the signs, will be September 18, 2024. The implementation date, the day all retail establishments must cease providing plastic and non-recyclable bags, will be November 17, 2024. On March 17, 2025, retail establishments are permitted to remove signs from all points of sale.

Will I need to get rid of my existing stock of plastic and non-recyclable plastic bags?
Doylestown Township requests that all businesses begin to phase out their use of plastic and non-recyclable bags and encourage patrons to use their own reusable bags.

Will extensions be permitted?
No, with reference to the ordinance no extensions will be provided for any retail business of Doylestown Township.

Will businesses charge customers for bags?
Yes. After November 17, 2024, businesses will charge a customer not less than $0.05 if they require a recycled paper or reusable bag for carry-out goods. Thus, encouraging the residents of Doylestown Township to bring their own bags.

What are the fines for non-compliance?
For 6-months before implementation on November 17,2024, there will be a period that permits retail establishments to prepare and comply with the law.

Beginning 6-months after the ordinance’s passage, any retail establishment that fails to comply with the ordinance will receive a warning notice. Continuous failure to comply with the ordinance the retail establishment will be subjected to a fine. The first violation a retail establishment will need to pay a fine of $50, $100 for a second violation within 12 months after the first violation, and a fine of $200 for each subsequent violation within 12 months of the first violation.