Retailers, restaurants and other businesses across Beaufort County will have to shift to a more eco-friendly way of doing business on Nov. 1 when a law banning single-use plastic bags goes into effect.

The Town of Hilton Head Island, the Town of Bluffton, the Town of Port Royal, the City of Beaufort and Beaufort County have all passed an ordinance prohibiting businesses from providing single-use plastic bags to their customers.

Instead, businesses are encouraged to provide reusable carryout bags or recyclable paper bags for customers.

The ordinance still allows some plastic bags. They include:

  • Laundry or dry cleaning bags
  • Meat, produce and bakery bags
  • Newspaper and door-hanger bags
  • Pet waste, yard waste and garbage bags
  • Bags provided by pharmacists or veterinarians to contain prescription drugs or other medical necessities, as required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • Bags for items sold in bulk such as bulk food and bulk hardware items.
  • Bags or plastic wraps for flowers, potted plants or items where dampness may be an issue.
  • Bags of any type that a customer brings to the store for his or her own use to carry away goods that are not placed in a bag provided by the store.
  • Bags comprised of recyclable plastic, with a minimum thickness of 2.25 mils.

The ordinance also prohibits organizations that host events on town or city property from distributing plastic bags at their events. Businesses or organizations may receive a notice of violation or a citation for failing to comply with the law.

The eco-friendly law aims to improve and protect the environment, especially our waterways and marine life across the region.

For more information, businesses and organizations are encouraged to contact the municipality in which their organization resides.