Environmentally Acceptable Packaging/Products

New Charleston Single-Use Plastic Requirements, Effective January 1, 2020

Beginning January 1, 2020, operations throughout Charleston will be required to eliminate use of single-use plastic carryout and merchandise bags, as well as certain plastic carryout and food packaging items.

View the Ratified Ordinance (November 27, 2018) and a Ratified Amendment (September 24, 2019). 

Printable Informational Flyer

Business Workshops Announced for Oct 28 + 30!in_the_bag_logo

Businesses and organizations are encouraged to join us at one of two free upcoming workshops.  

The workshops are designed to provide establishments with tools and resources to support a smooth transition and adaptation of the new plastic regulations.  


Printable Flyer

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What the Requirements Mean

Single-use plastic carryout bags” may not be provided to customers

“Disposable food service ware / to go packaging / food packaging materials” (clamshells, bowls, plates, cups, straws, stirrers, etc.)

that contains polystyrene/plastic foam (sometimes called Styrofoam™) may not be provided to customers

shall be recyclable or compostable

“Polystyrene/plastic foam products” (foam coolers, cups, plates, packing peanuts, etc.) may not be sold, rented or supplied to customers


There are specialty items that are not restricted or are exempt from restrictions.  Please see the ordinance dated 9/24/19 and flyer for more information.

Effective Date

To offer time for establishments to utilize current inventory and plan for future compliance, a 13 month grace period was built in so the ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2020.  

Educational Signage

Business establishments within the City limits are strongly encouraged to provide prominently displayed signage advising customers of the benefit of reducing, reusing and recycling and promoting the use of reusable carryout bags by customers.  


Our Plastic Transition Program includes the design and purchase of signage free of charge (grant funded) for businesses and organizations to utilize to help support community-wide behavioral change!  

LEARN MORE and provide input on the signage!

A Sustainable Charleston

In Charleston, our environment is essential to our economy. This ordinance is designed to protect the engine of our economy and livability of our City so businesses, particularly those influenced by tourism, and residents can continue to enjoy what the beauty and bounty of Charleston's waterways offer for generations to come.

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Public Engagement

We are thankful so many citizens, businesses and organizations have been engaged over the past few years and have contributed ideas and feedback to the discussion about regulating plastics.

Learn more about the history of this discussion in Charleston.

Survey Results: Results of a 2016 local survey (PDF) on plastic bags that received almost 5,000 responses from businesses and citizens who overwhelmingly support a ban on plastic bags.