This week is Earth Week, and even though social distancing measures are in effect, City departments and partners are still coming together virtually to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this important event.

The City applauds its employees and partner organizations that continue to advocate for a healthier and more sustainable planet.

Philadelphia’s Single Use Plastic Bag Ban, passed in City Council and signed into law in 2019, is a major advancement towards cleaning up Philly’s environment and city streets. This law bans single use plastic bags in retail establishments with certain exceptions.

Since then, a multi-departmental team has been working to craft an enforcement strategy and messaging on the legislation. This is to make sure that residents, visitors, and retailers all understand the importance of the Plastic Bag Ban and how to comply.

Due to the City’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and our commitment to ensure that businesses are as supported as possible when they reopen, the initial effective date of July 2, 2020 is no longer realistic.

As a result, the City is pushing back the effective date of the Single Use Plastic Bag Ban to January 1, 2021. 

Starting February 1, 2021, businesses will be required to post signage informing the public of the ban. On April 1, 2021, retail stores can no longer provide single use plastic bags.

This is not an announcement we want to make during Earth Week. We know the climate crisis and plastic pollution remain two very serious threats to our planet and society, even during the global pandemic.

However, we realize that this law will only be successful if there is widespread messaging to our diverse business owners, effective enforcement, and most importantly, partnership among all stakeholders and communities.

We will get through this challenging time together, and when we do, we will still have our environment to protect.

The City is working to make sure that our businesses rise from this challenging time stronger and fully supported to create a cleaner and more sustainable Philadelphia.

Updated Plastic Bag Ban Implementation Dates

January 1, 2021 Legislation goes into effect.
February 1, 2021 Retail establishments are required to post at  all points of sale conspicuous signage informing customers that single-use plastic bags and non-recycled content paper bags will no longer be provided by the establishment as of the date the prohibition begins.
April 1, 2021 Enforcement of the prohibition of bags begins. CVNs will be issued to retail establishments that fail to comply with the law.