New updates in Chicago!

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as part of his 2017 budget, introduced on Oct. 11 a proposal to add a 7-cent tax on plastic and paper bags used in the city. This is an extension of an ordinance that went into effect in 2015 that put restrictions on the use of plastic bags.  The new tax is due to ongoing negotiations between city retailer and environmental groups.

Under the first phase of this ordinance, which went into effect Aug. 1, 2015, chain stores and franchises over 10,000 square feet are banned from using standard thin plastic bags to carry groceries in, and are required to provide reusable bags instead. These requirements expanded to all chains and franchises within the city under the second phase of the ordinance, which went into effect Aug. 1, 2016. Any store that violates the ordinance could face a fine of $100-500.

The 7-cent fee will be split between the city- which will retain 5-cents and the retailers, which will retain 2-cents. It is expected to generate more that $10 million dollars in revenue for the city.

Make sure to keep checking our website for updates on single use bag legislation that is pending or being implemented. Our retail packaging specialists stay on top of the ever-changing market conditions. Let us help you navigate bag legislation in the municipalities you sell into and select the best packaging for your stores. We hope that you will contact us by phone at 888-429-5673 or via email at baglaws@swalter.com.

Bag Ban in Puerto Rico Going Into Effect

Although baglaws.com typically only follows bag legislation in the 50 United States, we wanted to share information regarding a law (Act 247-2015) going into effect in December 2016 in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, where many of our customers are located or have locations.

Act 247-2015 was signed into law Dec. 24, 2015, three months after Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla issued an executive order that would ban businesses from dispensing plastic bags to customers starting in July, defying legislators who had rejected a similar bill. The new law, authored by Popular Democratic Party Reps. Manuel Natal and José Báez, gave businesses a year before the ban on plastic bags goes into effect to allow for an educational campaign on the issue.

Act 247-2015 promotes the use of reusable bags and prohibits retail stores and other commercial establishments, as of December 24, 2016, from providing plastic bags to customers. Under the Act, customers are allowed to bring their own plastic bags to the establishments to carry and transport their articles and products. The ban does not apply to (1) product bags or packages, such as handle-less plastic bags/packages used to transport farm products, meat and other articles that would prevent such products from damaging or contaminating other products, and (2) Security Tamper-Evident Bags.

Commercial establishments are allowed to provide paper bags and recover their costs from customers, at their discretion. The Act also requires reusable bags sold to customers to meet the following requirements:

  1. Must be made of material or fabric that does not damage the environment
  2. Must be able to be machine washed, or made of a materials that can be washed and disinfected
  3. Must have a capacity to carry at least 22 pounds a distance of 75 feet for at least 125 times
  4. If made of plastic, must be made out of polypropylene or polyethylene (non-woven) or any other synthetic fiber that is totally recyclable
  5. If it is a reusable fabric, it must have a minimum weight of 80 grams per square meter (gsm).

 

You can check out the entire Act here.

Be sure to check our website for updates on single use bag legislation that is pending or being implemented. Our retail packaging specialists stay on top of the ever-changing market conditions. Let us help you navigate bag legislation in the municipalities you sell into and select the best packaging for your stores. We hope that you will contact us by phone at 888-429-5673 or via email at baglaws@swalter.com.