RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. — A single-use plastic bag ban is under consideration by Richland County council. The first reading of the proposal passed Tuesday. This would ban the use of all single-use carryout bags.

Officials say this is an environmentally-friendly solution to reduce litter in storm drains, rivers, and streams, as well as positively impacting greenhouse gas emissions. 

The proposed ordinance defines single-use carryout bags as any bag made of plastic, paper, or other material that is not recycled. This does not include prescription bags, produce bags or clothing bags. All bags used must have a label that explains where it was made and bags made of 40% recycled material can still be used. 

If the proposed ban goes into effect, it would be a slow process. Store owners can petition for a full or partial waiver for up to one year if the ban causes a financial burden on the business.

Once the ban passes, business owners will be penalized for not complying with the rules. After a written warning, there will be a $100 fine for the first violation, $200 for a second violation within 12-months and a $500 fine for each additional violation within those 12 months.

No effective date has been set yet because there are two more readings.

If you are interesting in reading the entire ordinance, click here. Pages 156 through 163 outline the proposal in its entirety.