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Environmentally Acceptable Packaging/Products
Ratified Ordinance
On November 27, 2018, City Council approved an amended version of the Environmentally Acceptable Packaging and Products ordinance.  Click here to view the final Ratified Ordinance

Enforcement of the ordinance is set to begin on January 1, 2020.  More information about assistance during the 13 month transition period will be forthcoming.

Please note, there were many drafts of the ordinance shared with the community that were continually improved over time based on feedback from residents, businesses and City Council, please be sure to view the ratified version.  


In Charleston, our environment is essential to our economy. 

This draft 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. 

Draft Ordinance
The draft proposed ordinance addresses the point of sale only, the place at which goods are retailed, not individuals.  The Resiliency & Sustainability Advisory Committee continues to review this ordinance and welcomes input.

Brief Summary
  • Regulations:
    • Single use plastic bags may not be provided to customers
    • Disposable service ware that contains polystyrene/plastic foam may not be provided to customers
    • Disposable service ware shall be recyclable or compostable
    • Polystyrene/plastic foam products may not be sold (foam coolers, cups, plates etc.) unless they are fully encapsulated (such as surfboards, reusable coolers, noodles, hot tub covers, etc.)
  • Exemptions:
    • There are many exemptions to the above regulations, such as: newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, emergency and medical supplies, bulk item bags like nuts and produce, bags used for charity, meat trays, cutlery, plastic straws upon request, and more.  (see page 4 for complete list)
    • There is an option to request an exemption any time for any unique circumstance that may arise
  • Effective Date:
    • There is a one-year grace period built in before the ordinance would take effect (January 1, 2020)

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

Learn more about the history of this discussion in Charleston and learn plastic bag facts.

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

Public Meetings
  • 11/27/2018: City Council- Presentation
  • 11/13/2018: City Council- Presentation
  • 11/1/2018:   Resiliency & Sustainability Advisory Committee- Presentation
  • 9/27/2018:   Resiliency & Sustainability Advisory Committee- Presentation
  • 6/14/2018:   Sustainability Advisory Committee- Presentation
  • 5/12/2016:   Sustainability Advisory Committee

Feedback Request 
We would love to hear your thoughts about this proposed ordinance and any ideas you have to improve it!  You may provide feedback by filling out the below form.