FAQ for Retailers

Frequently Asked Questions About Plastic Bags For Retailers

Replace single use plastic carryout bags with compostable paper and bioplastic bags and promote reusable bags.


March 1, 2020, same as the New York State Plastic Bag Ban law.

Retail and grocery establishments will not be able to provide single-use plastic bags to their customers. In addition, they will be required to charge at least five cents for a recyclable paper bag.

This ban is for single-use plastic “Carryout Bags”.  These are generally thin plastic bags with cut-out handles; sometimes called a “t-shirt bag”.

  • A bag without handles used to carry produce, meats, dry goods or other non-prepackaged food items to the point of sale within a store or market or to prevent such food items from coming into direct contact with other purchased items.
  • A garment bag or large plastic bag with two openings that is used to transport clothing from a clothing retailer or garment cleaner such as a dry cleaner.
  • A bag provided by a pharmacy to carry prescription drugs.
  • Thicker woven plastic shopping bags with strap handles intended for multiple use.

The City of Troy Plastic Free Hudson Act applies to establishments engaged in the retail sale of personal, consumer, food or household items.

Since the City and State laws go into effect at the same time on March 1, 2020, a 5 cent per bag fee will be paid to the State to support distribution of reusable bags and related programs.  Retailers can charge any amount over 5 cents per bag; which would be kept by the retailer.

No.  The point of having a 5 cent fee for a paper bag, is to add an incentive for customers to bring reusable bags. Otherwise, consumers switch to paper, without any change in behavior. For this Act to be the most effective, people should be using reusable bags, not relying on the bags that the store provides.

Stores should post signs at the store entrance and near the point of sale, to notify customers of the provisions of this law, including the per bag charge for Recyclable Paper Bags and Reusable Bags.

Yes. The store will need to show the bag fee on the customer’s receipt.

These will need to be discarded, preferably in appropriate recycling channels.

Bags used within the Market (for example for loose bakery items and produce) should be compostable paper or bioplastic; meat, fish, cheese, and other deli meats may be packaged in plastic; but compostable bioplastic is preferred.  There is no fee charged for these paper bags.

No. Sales tax is not charged on bag the 5 cent bag fee.

The customer should be told that these changes are City of Troy and New York State Law. All included retailers in the State must comply; it isn’t specific to any one store.

Yes, covered stores include farmers markets and farm stands.

Yes.  If the customer re-purposes a box, envelope or other container from your store, the 5-cent fee does not apply.

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