Baltimore has officially banned single-use plastic bags at retailers in the city starting in 2021.
The new law forbids grocers and other retailers from providing customers with plastic bags. Instead, they must charge customers five cents for any other kind of bag, including paper bags. Retailers would keep four cents of that fee, with the city taking the remaining penny. Any retailer who violates the ban three times or more would be fined up to $1,000.
Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young signed the ban into law Monday morning during an event at the National Aquarium. The signing coincides with a bill state Del. Brooke Lierman plans to introduce in the legislature later on Monday that would ban plastic bags statewide. Baltimore had tried nine times since 2006 to enact the city ban, which was championed by environmentalists but received pushback from retailers who argued it would hurt them financially since alternative kinds of bags are more expensive than plastic ones, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The plastic bag ban also comes on the heels of a citywide ban on styrofoam, which went into effect in October. The state followed with a ban of its own months later that goes into effect in July.
"Once again Baltimore is leading the way in creating cleaner neighborhoods and waterways so we can leave our city and state to our children better than which we found it," Young said at the bill signing.