proposed ordinance for the Management of Plastic and Paper Checkout Bags in Darien

Summary of the Proposed Ordinance

This Ordinance is intended to reduce bag waste in order to protect and preserve the environment in Darien for the benefit and welfare of its residents, by encouraging the use of reusable checkout bags, through the phase-out of plastic checkout bags and non-recycled paper checkout bags and the introduction of a charge on recycled paper checkout bags.

Definitions of terms that have been underlined:

  • Reusable checkout bag: washable, holds at least 22 pounds, lifetime of more than 125 uses, appropriately labeled as such and, if plastic – greater than 12 Mil
  • Plastic checkout bags – bag less than 12 Mil. Exceptions: Product Bags, below
  • Non-recycled paper checkout bag – a bag not meeting below definition
  • Recycled paper checkout bag – no old growth fiber, minimum of 40% post-consumer recycled content, 100% recyclable, appropriately labeled


Plastic checkout bags and Non-recycled paper bags are prohibited - except for Product bags, as defined under the list of Exceptions, below

Recycled Paper Checkout Bags – are allowed, with merchant collecting and retaining a 10-cent (₵) charge for each bag Enforcement: The board of Selectmen will appoint a monitor to determine if violations are taking place. No Town employees are to participate in the monitoring or enforcement of this ordinance. 

The penalty for non-compliance by a merchant: $150 for second violation, $250 for subsequent violations. An unaddressed citation will double after 15 days.

Exceptions (Product bags):

  1. Newspaper bags 
  2. door-hanger bags
  3. laundry dry-cleaning bags 
  4. bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for use as garbage 
  5. pet waste bags 
  6. yard waste bags and 
  7. bags that are used by customers inside stores to:

  •        package bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, grains, candy
  •        contain or wrap frozen foods, meat or fish, whether packaged or not
  •        contain or wrap flowers, potted plants or other items where dampness may be a problem
  •        contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods
  •        contain pharmacy prescriptions; or safeguard public health during the transportation of hospital waste

V2 01-14-19