Three coastal counties on the Outer Banks in North Carolina have become the latest communities on the East Coast to ban the distribution of single-use plastic disposable carryout bags at retail stores.
The bill, which goes into effect Sept. 1 in Hyde, Dare and Currituck counties, was signed into law June 24 by Gov. Beverly Perdue. It applies to retailers that have 5,000 square feet or more, and to retailers operating in those counties that have five or more stores in the state.
Reusable plastic bags with handles that are 2.25 mils or greater in thickness can still be used. The law does not apply to plastic bags that are used to wrap meat, fish, poultry or produce.
The three North Carolina counties join Westport, Conn., and the California cities of San Francisco, Fairfax and Malibu, which also have bans on plastic carryout bags. A ban on plastic bags in Manhattan Beach, Calif., was overturned, pending an appeal.
Toronto has had a 5-cent tax on carryout bags since June 1. The District of Columbia enacted a 5-cent fee earlier this month on plastic and paper bags that will go into effect in January at all retail stores and street vendors. There will be a vote Aug. 18 in Seattle on whether the city should place a 20-cent tax on plastic carryout bags.
The new North Carolina law requires retailers in the affected counties to offer incentives to shoppers who bring in their own reusable bags. The incentive can be either a cash refund, a store coupon or credit, or points under the store's loyalty or rewards program that are equal to, or greater than, the retailer's cost of providing the customer a paper bag made from 100 percent recycled content.