If you’re shopping at a Target in Philadelphia, consider yourself warned: you will need a reusable bag, as the stores seem to have stopped providing plastic bags.

The City of Philadelphia recently passed a plastic bag ban that was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ban on bags is being slowly rolled out over the next 9 months. 

However, I was shocked to learn that Target seemed to be a bit “ahead of schedule,” by already removing all plastic bags. So it's probably safe to assume that other retailers will quickly follow suit -- so I'm expecting to need reusable bags at Acme and ShopRite soon too.

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I was personally in two Target stores within the city’s limits over the past few days —one in Center City and one in City Line Avenue — and neither of those stores had plastic bags. 

In both cases, however, I was provided with a free reusable Target bag — I must admit that bag was actually quite nice.

I was caught off guard, though, since I expected the plastic bag ban to be a bit of a slower rollout for the city.

When I first got to the self check out line in the Target on City Line Avenue in Philly, I thought the plastic bags just needed to be refilled. An employee came over and brought me a reusable bag right away, and then it all made sense.

The implementation of the ban began on July 1, but it’s a 9 month rollout, so I wasn’t expecting to think about it so soon, honestly. 

As we said, here’s the timeline for the plastic bag ban in Philadelphia:

  • By the end of July, establishments must provide a warning to customers that they will no longer be providing single-use plastic bags as of October 1. 
  • On October 1, the city will begin issuing warnings to retailers that do not comply. 
  • On April 1, 2022, the city will issue fines to stores who are not complying with the ban.

Of course, the goal of the ban is to reduce litter and keep recycling employees safe (as the bags are often stuck in recycling equipment), the city says. In fact, it’s estimated that one billion plastic bags a year are used in the City of Philadelphia, they said. 

Alright! Time to stock up on reusable bags... and hopefully remember them before my next Target run.

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