Radnor Commissioners pass single-use plastic bag ban

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Ordinance expected to reduce Radnor plastic bag usage by 12 million bags annually and decrease litter

[Radnor, PA] – On August 15, the Radnor Board of Commissioners passed Ordinance 2022-11 following a contentious discussion by a vote of 5-1, which will take crucial steps to reduce plastic bag use in the township.

Through this action, Radnor became the 10th municipality in Pennsylvania and the third in Delaware County to pass legislation to ban single-use plastic bags in the growing effort to rein in plastic pollution.  With over 33,000 residents, Radnor is the fourth-largest municipality to ban plastic bags in Pennsylvania. PennEnvironment estimates that Radnor uses over 12 million single-use plastic bags every year, equivalent to 66 tons of plastic

Radnor’s Ordinance 2022-11 sets strong standards for halting the sale or distribution of single-use plastic bags at Radnor grocery stores, pharmacies, corner stores, and other retailers. It also requires that paper bags consist of at least 40% recycled post-consumer content, puts a $0.10 fee on all other bags, and sets stringent fines for retailers who violate the law. The ordinance goes into effect immediately, though retailers will have a six month adjustment period before they have to do away with plastic. An amendment was passed before the bill’s final passage, granting an exemption to food pantries and similar operations. 

Plastic pollution is one of the most common forms of litter, and plastic bags in particular pose a great harm to the environment. Plastic bags in our environment can choke animals, clog stormwater infrastructure exacerbating the effects of flooding or heavy rainfall, and break down into microplastics which accumulate toxic chemicals and have been found in waterways across the commonwealth

PennEnvironment’s Zero Waste Advocate Faran Savitz issued the following statement in response to the announcement:

“PennEnvironment applauds the Radnor Board of Commissioners for passing this bill and making the township a statewide leader in the fight against plastic pollution. Radnor’s new ordinance is a big step forward in the effort to cut unnecessary and dangerous single-use plastics out of our lives. 

“Plastic bags are the poster child for the environmental harm caused by single-use plastics. Nothing we use for a few minutes, such as single-use plastic bags, should be allowed to litter our communities, pollute our environment, and fill our landfills and incinerators for hundreds of years to come. Today’s passage of Ordinance 2022-11 sends a strong message that Radnor is tired of litter and single-use plastic pollution.

“Legislation to tackle plastic bag pollution is broadly supported by Pennsylvanians, and we’ve seen vocal support from Radnor residents who care deeply about this issue. With this vote, Radnor joins hundreds of cities across the nation that have already implemented similar legislation. From those laws, we know that policies like Ordinance 2022-11 work. By dramatically reducing the distribution, we dramatically reduce the pollution.

“Every Radnor resident has had the experience of watching plastic bags blowing down our streets and through our neighborhoods, seeing plastic bags stuck in curbside trees and bushes, or in our parks and other outdoor places we love. We’ve had enough. As the plastic industry continues to push harmful single-use plastics on the nation’s consumers, we’re relieved and excited that our elected officials have taken action.”


PennEnvironment is a statewide citizen-based non-profit environmental advocacy organization working to promote clean air, clean water, and protect our open spaces. To learn more about our work to tackle the threat of single-use plastics, visit www.ZeroWaste4PA.org, or to learn more about any of our issues visit www.PennEnvironment.org