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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Waste Management - Plastic Bag Ban

Waste Management

Signs for Retailers

Plastic Bag Law

Part 2G Plastic Bag Management within the Solid Waste Management Statutes has been changed by Session Laws 2010-31 Section 13.10 and 2010-123 Part V. The 2010 General Assembly enacted changes regarding retail use of plastic, paper, and reusable bags on the barrier islands and peninsulas of Dare, Currituck, and Hyde Counties. The effective date of the law is October 1, 2010.

  • The law applies to all retailers in the affected areas – a retailer is defined as “a person who offers goods for sale in this State to consumers and who provides a single-use plastic bag to the consumer to carry or transport the goods for free or for a nominal charge.”
  • Retailers may provide paper bags to customers but the bags must contain at least 40% recycled material and must be labeled with the words “made from recycled material” and “recyclable.”
  • Retailers are only allowed to offer a recycled paper bag if they offer a cash refund to any customer who uses the customer’s own reusable bags instead of the bags provided by the retailers. The amount of the refund shall be equal to or greater than the cost to the retailer of providing a recycled paper bag, multiplied by the number of reusable bags filled with the goods purchased by the customer.
  • A “Reusable Bag” is re-defined to be a bag with handles that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse and is made from either: 1) non-woven polypropylene or other plastic material with a weight of at least 80 grams per square meter cloth or 2) other machine washable fabric.
  • Retailers with less than 5,000 square feet of retail space that is not part of a retail chain may use their inventory of single-use plastic bags provided those bags were purchased prior to May 1, 2010 but only until May 1, 2011.
  • Single-use plastic bags can still be used for fresh fish, meat, poultry, or produce.
  • Retailers are required to post signage with specific language regarding plastic and paper bags stating: "[county name where retailer is located] County discourages the use of single-use plastic and paper bags to protect our environment from excess litter and greenhouse gases. We would appreciate our customers using reusable bags, but if you are not able to, a recycled paper bag will be furnished for your use."
  • A retailer may provide customers with reused packaging materials originally used for goods received from the retailer's wholesalers or suppliers.
  • A prepared foods retailer may package prepared foods in a recycled paper bag, regardless of the availability of a reusable bag, in order to comply with food sanitation or handling standards or best practices.

For further information and additional details on the statute governing plastic, paper and reusable bags on the barrier islands of Currituck, Dare, and Hyde counties, contact:

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