Reminder: Lawrence’s new single-use plastic bag ban takes effect Friday

photo by: Rochelle Valverde/Journal-World

Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., is pictured on Jan. 31, 2023.

The City of Lawrence’s new ordinance banning single-use plastic bags takes effect Friday.

As a reminder, the ordinance prohibits establishments in Lawrence — with some exceptions for places like farmers’ markets and schools — from providing single-use disposable plastic bags to customers at the point of sale. The city issued a press release Wednesday morning reminding community members of the impending change.

“The reusable bags ordinance is the first of its kind in Kansas and it reflects our community-wide commitment to protecting and restoring our ecosystem to make it healthier and more balanced for future generations,” the release reads.

As the Journal-World has reported, the ordinance defines a “single-use disposable plastic bag” as any plastic bag less than 4.0 mils of thickness — roughly equivalent to the thickness of a piece of paper — that is used for the purpose of transporting food, beverages or other merchandise. The thickness standard, as well as a requirement that bags contain at least 40% post-consumer recycled content and be properly labeled, also applies to paper bags.

The city’s release also includes a reminder about enforcement, which applies only to establishments. Customers who are given a single-use disposable plastic bag by an establishment or choose to use their own single-use disposable plastic bags won’t be subject to fines. However, the city is still encouraging community members to use alternatives like reusable bags made of nylon, cloth, cotton or polyester.

To that end, the city is hosting a “Bag Bash” on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St., where people can learn more information about the ordinance, donate clean and gently used bags for others to use and decorate a new tote bag provided by the city.


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