How to use

Plastic bag manufacturers are engaged in a well funded battle to maintain an unregulated marketplace for their product. Cities generally lack the funding and central organization available to industry groups and are faced with a steep learning curve regarding the complexities of plastic bag laws, which is often accompanied by the threat of litigation. In an effort to facilitate research for cities and states interested in adopting plastic bag laws, we have compiled the text of  laws, related litigation, and relevant studies.

Proven policy options

  • charges for single-use carryout bags (click here for detailed explanation)
  • second generation plastic bag bans (includes charge on paper & reusable) Expands Focus to New York City

Jennie Romer of helped found the BagItNYC Coalition, which worked with NYC Council Members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin on drafting the #BYOBag bill that would require a 5-cent charge on carryout bags at all retailers in NYC.


plastic bag on sidewalk 1

Click on the photo to view a slideshow of plastic bag litter in NYC.

A short history of plastic bag laws in California

California state law (AB 2449) preempts municipalities from charging a fee for plastic bags at checkout. San Francisco circumvented this law by enacting a ban on plastic bags  instead of imposing a fee. (read more . . .)