How to Start a Plastic Bag Ban in your Town

To start a movement to eliminate plastic bags, we believe each community has the right and obligation to decide the best way to do so. Below we have listed some resources.

Step 1: Educate yourself on the dangers of plastic bags.

  • California-based Heal the Bay has compiled a wealth of information about the effect of plastic bags on ecosystems and human health, including updates on the California bag ban referendum;
  • is an excellent source of information for organizing and supporting plastic bag bans in your community;
  • More California bag ban websites: California vs. Big Plastic; Californians Against Waste.

Step 2: Build the local movement and get citizens on board with the idea.

  • Host a screening of such informative documentaries as Bag It or Plastic Paradise as a way to get people together to talk about why a single-use bag ban might be a good idea. Check our Films page for more titles;
  • PPC’s Public Service Announcement ”Buried in Plastic” (endorsed for use by the Ad Council) and other PPC YouTube channel PSA’s and videos are available to share. Encourage your local network to run our ads as a way to further bolster community support;
  • For more ideas and to learn about community organizing, check out Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics campaign and ChicoBag’s Advocacy Toolkit.

Step 3: Connect with others working to ban the bag.

  • Search the Internet for local activism groups and get their newsletters, join their Facebook pages etc. Engagement via social media is an easy, effective way to get involved!
  • The Clean Seas Coalition has worked on many successful, recent bans passed in California and shares a lot of useful information on its site.
  • Green Cities California posts single-use reduction efforts that other locales can emulate.
  • ChicoBag hosts a map to help you find successful ordinances near you.

Step 4: Study successful ordinances.

Hundreds of bag bans have been passed throughout the world. We recommend reading through some of the model ordinances out there, including:

  • San Francisco’s bag ban
  • Marin County’s single-use bag ordinance
  • Monterey’s ban on polystyrene take-out containers
  • The website also documents a host of other legislative efforts and useful links.

Step 5: Write to friends and local businesses you support.

  • It’s amazing how effective a simple letter can be.
  • Educate friends and local businesses and encourage them to join you in banning the bag;
  • Sample letters you can copy and paste are available here.

Step 6: Contact your local representatives.

  • Write to or call your mayor, city council members, or state representatives to voice your support for a bag ordinance and encourage other like-minded members of your community to do the same;
  • You can start a free petition to rally support and find contact info for your local representatives on your city government’s website;
  • Contact information for state representatives is available on the Bag It! movie website here.

Step 7: Keep us posted! We will happily promote your efforts and celebrate your successes.

  • Simply comment here or on our Facebook page and we’ll help you get the word out.