County Giving Out Reusable Bags Before Plastic Bag Ban

Baltimore County’s plastic bag ban begins Nov. 1.

This ban will prohibit the distribution of single-use plastic checkout bags at the point of sale in order to reduce the significant negative impact of plastic bag litter in our communities, waterways, and at the County’s recycling center.

To assist with the transition ahead of this new law, Baltimore County officials will soon offer free reusable bags for residents at all Baltimore County Public Library branches, all County senior centers, and community pop-up events at farmers markets across the county.

Bags will be available at the Essex Farmers Market (Fridays, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) 500-block of Maryland Ave, Essex, 21221 on Fridays, Oct. 6 and Oct. 20.

Bags will be limited to one per person and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition, Baltimore County is providing bags directly to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infant and Children (WIC) households.

Bring Your Own Bag Act Details

In accordance with the bipartisan Bring Your Own Bag Act, the vast majority of retail establishments must comply with the prohibition of single-use plastic checkout bags. This includes:

Convenience stores

Department stores

Grocery stores

Hardware and home improvement stores

Liquor stores



Retail establishments must charge a minimum of $.05 for each paper or reusable bag distributed.

The plastic bag prohibition does not include bags used to:

Contain produce or bulk foods such as nuts, grains, candy or small hardware items

Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, fish, flowers, potted plants or other damp items

Take live fish, insects, mollusks or crustaceans from a retail establishment

Contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods

Comply with food safety and contamination standards

Contain garments or dry-cleaned clothes

Retailers may offer and promote incentives for customers to bring their own bag, or reduce the cost of purchasing a reusable bag, as long as the fee is no less than five cents per bag.


Exempt locations include small retail establishments (stores, food service facilities or other establishments that provide carryout bags) that operate solely in the County or adjoining jurisdictions, and have three or fewer locations and are not part of a franchise corporation, corporate control group or partnership with locations outside of the County and adjoining jurisdictions. This exemption does not apply to liquor stores, convenience stores or fuel or service stations with convenience stores.

For more information about Baltimore County’s Bring Your Own Bag law, please visit

For additional questions, please contact Baltimore County Code Enforcement at at or by calling 410-887-3351.



Benjamin Joseph

Benjamin Joesph has covered news in Eastern Baltimore County since 2006. He started as a reporter with the original East County Times in 2006. He started East Baltco News and later in 2022.