PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — Prince George’s County has already made its New Year’s resolution, and it involves cleaning up the streets and reducing its overall carbon footprint.
County officials voted in favor of the "Better Bag Bill" back in June. According to the bill, beginning Jan. 1, 2024, a ban on single-use plastic bags will go into effect. The ban is to help preserve marine life, protect local waterways, reduce litter, and encourage residents to use reusable bags.
“This ban encourages consumers to reduce waste and addresses one of the County’s Climate Action Plan recommendations, an important step in maintaining a sustainable County and reducing our carbon footprint,” said Department of the Environment (DoE) Director Andrea Crooms.
This new initiative will apply to restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores, and other establishments that use single-use bags. Even though plastic bags will be banned, paper and reusable bags will still be available for purchase at 10-cents per bag. This charge does not apply to paper bags used for prescription medicines, drive-thru paper bags, restaurants that offer take-out, or dry cleaning.
While this initiative is new to Prince George’s County, residents in Montgomery County, Takoma Park, and Laurel have been paying this bag tax for a few years now. The county will be providing a three-month grace period before imposing any citations or penalties. If a retailer is found violating the new bill, after March 2024, a penalty up to $500 can be issued.