The City of Westminster ban on plastic bags will begin on July 1, 2021. Here is information from the City website:

Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance Effective July 1

City of Westminster Requests Compliance with Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance

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Mayor Becker reminded business establishments of Ordinance 911’s effective date.  The Ordinance reduces the use of single-use plastic bags by business establishments with more than 25 employees and not in the food takeout/delivery business.

“Compliance with the Plastic Bag Ordinance will impact our watersheds and stormwater management areas in a positive manner.” said Mayor Becker.

While many businesses voluntarily complied with the ordinance early, Mayor Becker urged all affected businesses to take measures to come into compliance by the effective date of July 1, 2021.  A copy of the complete Ordinance may be viewed at the City’s web site at:

https://www.westminstermd.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/1384?fileID=3234.

Questions regarding the Ordinance may be directed to Executive Assistant Samantha Schlitzer at 410-848-5673 or SSchlitzer@WestGov.com.

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A major component to know about this plastic bag ban are all of the Exemptions to this Ordinance where businesses can still provide plastic bags:

  • LAUNDRY DRY CLEANING BAGS, DOOR-HANGER BAGS, NEWSPAPER BAGS, OR PACKAGES OF MULTIPLE BAGS INTENDED FOR USE FOR DISPOSITION OF GARBAGE, PET WASTE, ORY ARD WASTE;
  • BAGS PROVIDED BY PHARMACISTS OR VETERINARIANS TO CONTAIN PRESCRIPTION DRUGS OR OTHER MEDICAL NECESSITIES, AS REQUIRED BY THE U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA);
  • BAGS USED INSIDE A BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENT TO:
    • CONTAIN BULK ITEMS, SUCH AS PRODUCE, NUTS, GRAINS, CANDY, OR SMALL HARDWARE ITEMS;
    • CONTAIN OR WRAP FROZEN FOODS, MEAT, OR FISH, WHETHER OR NOT PREPACKAGED;
    • CONTAIN OR WRAP PLANT MATERIAL, FLOWERS OR POTTED PLANTS TO PREVENT SPOILAGE OF THE
      ITEM OR MOISTURE DAMAGE TO OTHER PURCHASES; OR
    • CONTAIN UNWRAPPED PREPARED FOODS OR BAKERY GOODS.
  • BAGS OF ANY TYPE THAT THE CUSTOMER BRING TO THE BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENT FOR HIS OR HER OWN USE FOR CARRYING AWAY FROM THE STORE GOODS THAT ARE NOT PLACED IN A BAG PROVIDED BY THE BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENT.
  • BAGS USED FOR BY RESTAURANTS FOR TAKE-OUT BY CUSTOMERS OR FOR DELIVERY OF FOOD TO RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS.
  • BAGS USED BY BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENTS WITH FEWER THAN TWENTY-FIVE (25) EMPLOYEES AT ALL OF THE BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENTS OWNED BY THE SAME PERSON OR ENTITY. WHEREVER SUCH BUSINESSES MAY BE LOCATED. THE EXEMPTION SET FORTH IN THIS SUBSECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO FRANCHISED ESTABLISHMENTS.

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To me those last two exemptions are important and significant. This makes the plastic bag ban a bit more local business friendly (my opinion).

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This ban on plastic bags was originally scheduled to begin in 2020 but the Common Council in Westminster chose to delay the implementation until 2021:

Plastic Bag Ban Implementation Postponed

On May 13, 2019, the Common Council adopted Ordinance No. 911, imposing certain restrictions on the distribution at
business establishments of single-use plastic bags. Ordinance No. 911 was scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2020.

The business community has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. To alleviate any unnecessary burden, on
May 11, 2020 the Mayor and Common Council enacted Emergency Ordinance No. 923, deferring the effective date of the
City’s plastic bag distribution restrictions until July 1, 2021.

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Many readers of this blog know what I thought about the Plastic Bag TAX implemented by the Howard County Council in October of 2020 (What You Should Know About The Plastic Bag Fee / Tax That Begins In Howard County Today). I was opposed to that TAX but would have been supportive of a ban (similar to what Westminster will soon be implementing).

It was nice to see the City of Westminster think of its residents and businesses by delaying this new Ordinance during the middle of a global pandemic that had adversely affected residents and businesses (unfortunate that the politicians in Howard County did not take similar action to delay their implementation).

What do you think about the plastic bag ban in Westminster?

Scott E

4 COMMENTS

  1. This is absolutely positively wrong !!!
    Would it have too hard to tell the public before it went into effect? I just spent $$170 in groceries & had to put in car piece by piece. Can you imagine how hard that is for a B 70 year old women with a bad back & knees . Sure I didn’t have to purchase but then I would not have any food You owe Westminster residents an apology. I’m going to start shopping in PA myself.

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