It’s been several years in the making and come June, Doylestown Borough’s ban on single-use plastic bags and non-recycled paper bags will become law.
By April 23, signs letting customers know of the approaching new requirements must be placed at all checkout points and two months later, on June 22, the ordinance takes effect. The paper bags must be made of at least 40 percent recycled materials.
Borough officials said they are working on a webpage where the community can find downloadable signage and other resources.
An earlier version of the law requiring businesses to charge consumers 15 cents for a paper bag was removed after a number of business owners objected. Instead, businesses can offer the bags for free, if they chose.
That pleased Glenda Childs, who owns the Doylestown Bookshop.
“I am happy that we are doing the right thing for the environment, in regards to the single-use plastic bag ban. In the beginning, I was concerned about some of the specifics on the ban, such as being required to charge our customers a fee for a bag when they needed one,” she said, in an email.
Childs’ store on North Main Street has been phasing out the use of multi-use plastic bags for a while. “More and more, we see customers coming into the bookshop with their own bags, or preferring not to use a bag at all,” she said. “As the ban will soon go into effect, we will continue to encourage this, but we will also have some paper bags available for customers in need and I’m happy to say the bags will continue to be at no extra charge.”
The borough’s environmental advisory council first began studying the issue in 2016 and, in 2019, conducted a survey on the use of single-use plastics in the town. Some 80 percent of residents responded, with a significant majority supporting limiting their use, the borough reported.
That same year, Pennsylvania legislators placed a moratorium on bans that effectively blocked towns and cities from implementing such ordinances, but that initiative expired in 2021. Since then, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, West Chester and other municipalities have passed bans on single-use plastic bags.
Surrounding communities, including Solebury, have banned single-use plastic bags. So has the state of New Jersey.