Plastic Bag Laws Summer Recap

Last month we sent an update out to our newsletter subscribers. But we didn’t want the rest of the PBL community to miss out on this recap. If you want to be kept up to day subscribe to our newsletter.

It was a busy summer at The PBL team has been working to create updated resources so you can stay on top of the almost always shifting laws being passed on state and local levels. You can find a map of U.S. plastic bag bans, our fact sheet, and a map of the states with preemption laws that block local attempts at plastic bag bans and fees.


We aren’t the only ones working to bring the public some much-needed coverage to plastic pollution. National Geographic kicked off the summer with the  “Planet or Plastic?” cover story. That along with recent research that linked plastic pollution to climate change, finding that degradation of plastic in the ocean is a previously undiscovered source of GHG emissions. This coverage has put plastic reduction policies—including bags, straws, foam—on the map. We’re keeping a watchful eye on these policies to track what’s working and what’s not by compiling a list of studies, memos, letters of support, presentations, and anything else that includes reliable data on the policy effectiveness. 

If you have any new reports or efficacy data to share, please email


Earlier this summer, I was asked to weigh in on a decision to not uphold a ban passed in Laredo, TX on the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation blog. While it’s very disappointing Laredo’s ban was not upheld due to an existing preemption law, it was heartening to see the sheer number of community members, activists, lawyers, and organizations that wrote amicus briefs in favor of the ban.

It’s not all bad news for plastic bag law advocates, New Jersey recently adopted a statewide carryout bag fee. Fees are perhaps the most important component of bag laws so the law is a step in the right direction, but the law is not without flaws. I reached out to Governor Phil Murphy to suggest changes that could be made to New Jersey Bag Law (A3267/S2600) to make the law more impactful. You can read my thoughts here. isn’t a nonprofit organization, it’s an informational website founded by me, Jennie Romer, Esq. in 2010. I’ve put my experience as a lawyer to good use by consulting government agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations on plastic bag laws as well as the overarching issue of plastic and recycling/solid waste policy. I’m available for speaking engagements as well as sustainability consulting.

The PBL team is growing and we aspire to bring you the most up to date info on plastic bag laws. If you’d like to support our efforts, you can make a non-deductible contribution. We appreciate it!

Jennie Romer