Bag ban for small businesses starts this week

JACKSON, Wyo. — Large grocers abandoned single-use plastic grocery bags back in April, following a town ordinance that mandated it. Small businesses were given more time to adjust to the change.

That window of time is closing. Beginning Friday, November 1, all small businesses in the Town of Jackson will stop distributing single-use plastic bags.

Town and county employees will conduct a plastic bag “roundup” the following Monday, November 4, to collect any leftover plastic bags and dispose of them properly. Look for Town and County trucks near the corner of Broadway and Center St. to drop off unused plastic bags.

Customers may be used to going bagless in grocery stores by now. Arms have no doubt gotten more nimble from trying to carry piles of loose groceries when, heaven forbid, you forget your reusable bag and don’t want to pay $.20 for a paper one.

But small retailers may have more an adjustment on their hands. Like large grocers, small businesses will now also charge $.20 for a paper or 4-mil plastic bag. Town of Jackson is offering 50 free reusable bags for each business through Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling — email to get ahold of some.

There are some exemptions: vendors at farmers’ markets (excluding vendors associated with a permanent Jackson business), fast food restaurants, and art galleries and fairs are not included in the definition of “retail store.” Businesses under those categories can continue using plastic bags at point of sale.

Retailers may also provide paper bags or reusable plastic bags to a customer for free if the customer is a participant in a state or federal food assistance program.

Road to Zero Waste has put together a helpful guide on its site that answers FAQ’s about the ordinance, offers tips for retailers and customers, and includes a “Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance Toolkit.” Read up and get ready for phase two of the ordinance to start Friday.

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