What is the purpose of the Environmentally Acceptable Packaging/ Products ordinance?

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. 

These new measures are about cleaner streets and waterways, preserving the beauty and livability of Charleston for generations to come. 

Plastic bags and containers are convenient, but they also —

  • Trash Our Neighborhoods and Waterways: 

More than 302 million tons of plastics are discarded worldwide each year1.  Plastic waste ends up on Charleston’s streets and 7.6 tons are in Charleston Harbor alone.2

  • Threaten Wildlife Health:

As many as 100,000 marine animals have been injured or killed by entanglement with or ingestion of plastic waste.3

  • Pose Risks to Human Health:

Plastics never fully biodegrade, but when pieces of these bags and containers are eaten by animals, the plastic enters our food chain.


1: https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution#empirical-view

2: http://www.citadel.edu/root/change-leading-research-directed-by-dr-john-weinstein 

3:https://www.iflscience.com/environment/ocean-animals-%E2%80%98death-plastic%E2%80%99-could-be-occurring-more-frequently/ 

Show All Answers

1. Who needs to comply with the ordinance?
2. Do these regulations apply to vendors, food trucks, farmers markets, festivals, weddings, etc.?
3. When will the ordinance go into effect?
4. What is the purpose of the Environmentally Acceptable Packaging/ Products ordinance?
5. Where can I find a copy of the full ordinance?
6. What products does the ordinance apply to?
7. Are there any exemptions or products not restricted to begin with?
8. What if I have questions or need additional information?
9. What are the types of products that are allowed for use under the ordinance?
10. What type of bag is considered reusable?
11. What is the most environmentally sensitive choice I can make as a business owner or consumer?
12. What should retailers do if they have large stocks of plastic bags that last beyond the January 1, 2020 effective date?
13. I think I have a hardship in complying with this ordinance. What should I do?
14. Is every type of plastic bag prohibited?
15. Who do I ask to find out if a particular product I use is recyclable and therefore compliant?
16. How do I know if a particular product I use is compostable and therefore compliant?
17. As a customer, can I bring my own single-use plastic carryout bags to the store?
18. What if an establishment isn’t following the new rules?
19. Do I have to charge my customers for paper bags?
20. Is there a requirement for recycled content in paper bags?
21. How will this be enforced?