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Single-Use Products Law

A series of images including a reusable bag with the "BYO Bag" logo, a paper bag overlaid with 10 cents, and a plastic grocery bag, plastic stirrer sticks, plastic straws, and a foam takeout container, each overlaid by a red circle with a diagonal slash through it.

See our Guidance and FAQsSustainability Tips for Food & Beverage Containers, and COVID-19 and Reusables Tips for Businesses.

According to the Vermont Department of Health, reusable bags are safe to use, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. See our Tips and FAQ for more information on safe use of reusable bags.

Translations of a SUP Law fact sheet are available in the following languages: Arabic عربيChinese 普通话Bosnian Bɔ̌sanski, Burmese မြန်မာစာFrench FrançaisJapanese 日本語, Nepali नेपाली, Russian Русский язык, Somali Soomaali, Spanish Español, Swahili Kiswahili, Vietnamese Tiếng Việt. 

Why did Vermont pass a single-use products law?

To lessen the harmful effects of single-use products and to reduce the amount of single use products Vermonters landfill. Preventing waste has the best environmental and social benefits and saves money. Single-use items, paper, and packaging make up almost 1/3 of Vermont's trash.

Go to the Vermont Legislature to read the full bill (Act 69 of 2019, as enacted).

To learn more, visit the 2019 Single-Use Products Working Group's legislative page or read their final report.
Download our BYOBag signposter, and info card, or our Straws by Request sign.

What do I need to know?

Plastic Bags

Stores and food service establishments may no longer provide plastic carryout bags at check-out.

Plastic grocery bag overlaid by a red circle with a diagonal slash through itPlastic bags are allowed in stores and food service establishments for:

  • Containing loose objects within a store:
    • Packaging loose items, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, grains, bakery goods, candy, greeting cards, or small hardware items 
    • Containing frozen foods, meat, or fish
    • Containing or wrapping flowers
  • Containing prescription medications
  • Containing laundry, dry cleaning, or other large garments


Photos of three types of plastic bags that are still allowed: bags for cut flowers, bags for produce and other loose items; bags for dry cleaning. Each image has a green check mark on it.
Paper bags"a brown kraft paper shopping bag with '10 cents' written over it"

Stores and food service establishments may provide paper carryout bags at check-out, for a minimum of $0.10 each.

The $0.10 fee does not need to be charged for small, lightweight bags (generally shorter than 10 in. or with a basis weight of 30 lbs. or less).

Paper bags are allowed in stores and food service establishments for packaging loose items within a store, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, grains, bakery goods, candy, greeting cards, or small hardware items 

Photo of plastic strawsPlastic Straws
  • Food service establishments may no longer automatically provide plastic straws to customers.
  • Food service establishments may provide straws made from an alternative material (not compostable plastic).
  • Any customer may request a straw.
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities may continue providing plastic straws.
Photo of red plastic stir sticksPlastic Stirrers
  • Food service establishments may no longer provide plastic stirrer sticks to customers.
  • Food service establishments may provide stirrers made from an alternative material.
Photo of expanded polystyrene cups, plates, egg carbon, and takeout container with a large black X going through themExpanded Polystyrene 

Stores and food service establishments may no longer provide or sell food or beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene including:

  • Plates and cups
  • Trays
  • Egg cartons
  • Take-out containers

Expanded Polystyrene is still allowed for:Photo of an expanded polystyrene meat tray

  • Trays used to package uncooked meat, fish, poultry, or seafood
  • Products packaged out-of-state
  • Products packaged for sale out-of-state

FAQsPhoto of a cloth tote bag with the phrase "Bring Your Own Bag" on it

What can I do?
  • Bring your own reusable:
    • Bag when you go shopping
    • Straw, if you prefer to use them
    • Travel mug and refillable water bottle 
    • Container for leftovers when you eat out 
  • Consider working with your local community to set up a leave a bag, take a bag program
  • Consider eating in instead of getting take-out
A poster with pictures of different types of reusable bags and the words "Clean your reusable bags often: cloth or mesh bags, machine wash, dry in a dryer or air dry; nylon, polyester or woven polypropylene bags machine was and air dry; nonwoven polypropelyne or insulated bags hand wash or use disinfecting wipes and air dryWhat locations are included?
  • All retail stores of any type
  • All restaurants and cafeterias of any type
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Food trucks
  • Food/shopping delivery services
When did this law go into effect?

July 1, 2020. However, stores and eateries may continue using plastic bags, straws, stirrers, and expanded polystyrene products until July 1, 2021, if the items were purchased before May 15, 2019.

Are thick or compostable plastic bags allowed?

No. The law bans all types of plastic carry-out bags (provided to customers at the point of sale), including thick plastic bags, like from clothing stores, and compostable plastic bags.

Can I still use plastic trash/dog poop/snack bags?

Yes. This law does not ban the retail sale of plastic bags or other uses of plastic bags.

  • To reduce waste, consider reusing other types of plastic bags, such as bread bags or produce bags, for pet waste and as can liners. Consider replacing snack bags with reusable containers.
Are compostable straws allowed?

No, the ban on automatically providing straws includes straws made of bio-based or compostable plastic.

Can I still buy plastic straws and expanded polystyrene food and beverage products?

You can still buy plastic straws (although consider switching to reusable straws). You will no longer be able to purchase foam food and beverage products in Vermont stores.

Is the paper bag fee a tax?

No. Stores and restaurants will keep the money to help compensate for the higher cost of paper bags.

Aren’t plastic bags recyclable?

Yes, at designated drop off recycling locations, but not mixed in with your regular blue bin recycling because they get caught in the machinery, where they are expensive and dangerous to remove. Never bag your recyclables and never place plastic bags or film wrap in your curbside recycling bin or dumpster. Plastic bags and many other types of film plastic can be collected separately for recycling at some grocery and department stores, and even at some recycling centers and transfer stations.

Is this a landfill ban?

No. It is not against state law to throw plastic bags, straws, or expanded polystyrene products in the trash.

What if my town already banned plastic bags?

After July 1, 2020, the state law applies in all of Vermont.

Are there any trainings available?

Yes, this video gives an overview of the Single-Use Products Law.

How can I learn more?

Check out the Guidance & FAQs handout. Still have questions? Contact us at 802-828-1138.