City Outlines Outreach and Implementation Strategy for Baltimore’s Plastic Bag Ban

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Brandon M. Scott
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
(410) 396-3835 - Fax: (410) 576-9425



BALTIMORE, MD (Friday, June 18, 2021) — As Baltimore continues to navigate the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, the Mayor announced today that business owners and residents will have additional time to comply with the City’s upcoming plastic bag ban. Baltimore retailers will have until October 1, 2021 to adhere to the City’s Comprehensive Bag Reduction ordinance, commonly known as the plastic bag ban. 

“Now that Baltimore is beginning to emerge from the pandemic and recover from its impacts, we recognize that retailers and residents could benefit from additional time to adopt this important change,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “I look forward to robust, coordinated outreach and education efforts across the city in partnership with the Office of Sustainability, elected leaders, and community partners so that Baltimoreans understand the plastic bag ban and our efforts to make our city more sustainable and environmentally aware.”

In January, the Mayor signed an executive order postponing implementation of Ordinance 20-337: Comprehensive Bag Reduction in response to the continuous impact of COVID-19 on residents and businesses. Now, with the final pandemic-related restrictions on businesses slated to lift in July, the City is embarking on a robust outreach strategy to educate residents about the upcoming ban on plastic bags and distribute reusable bags where residents most need them.

From June through October, the Office of Sustainability will work alongside elected officials, community partners, and local institutions to educate residents and retailers about the new effective date and purpose of the ban. The City will also lead efforts to distribute thousands of reusable bags to residents through a lens of equity, while also supporting retailers in the months leading up to the ban.

“I’m excited to support the Office of Sustainability’s public education campaign on the plastic bag ban as we move out of the state of emergency,” said Comptroller Bill Henry. “Collaboration is the only way to accomplish the ban’s goal – reducing plastic waste in our waterways and lessening our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Ordinance 20-337: Comprehensive Bag Reduction was introduced in 2019 by then-Councilman Bill Henry and cosponsored by then-Council President Scott. It was signed into law in January 2020, prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a year-long enactment period. The ordinance prohibits retailers from providing plastic bags at checkout that are less than 4 millimeters thick unless the bag is to contain certain products. The ordinance also requires retailers to collect a 5-cent surcharge for any other bags provided at the point of sale, pickup, or delivery to carry purchased items, and imposes reporting and remittance requirements on retailers.

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