Resources for Retailers

a toolbox

Get Your Toolkit for York Retailers

Toolkit for York Retailers (pdf)

Suggested Retail Store Signage

The sign shown above is in PDF format. It is sized to be half of a letter-sized page and contains 2 signs per page. This or similar signage could be used in a store window or at the checkout counter. It subtly reminds cusomers that this is not a store decision but a Town of York ordinance and the reasoning for it.

Other Online Resources

Thanks to those communities who have gone before us, and shared their materials online. Special thanks to the following cities for sharing helpful implementation materials which we used to prepare some of our York-specific materials. These resources include include ideas for shoppers and businesses.
Newburyport, MA,
Sacramento, CA
Austin, TX

Resources for Retailers

The York 2016 ordinance eliminates the distribution of single-use plastic carryout bags in retail establishments. It allows those establishments to distribute paper bags, with or without an optional charge.  The intent, however, is not to have shoppers switch to paper bags. The goal is to encourage consumers to switch to reusable bags.

Below are portions of our "Toolkit for York Retailers" with suggestions to help smooth the transition to reusable bags for your employees and customers. They are based on the experiences of other municipalities that have enacted fees or bans on plastic bags. Get the full Toolkit»


When shoppers bring their own bags, it can lead to a cost savings for you because you will not have to purchase, store and distribute as many carryout bags to customers. You and your shoppers will be helping the environment, our oceans, and protecting human health.

A reusable bag program can offer you an additional way to create brand awareness and do some local advertising by offering your own customized reusable bag. Customers use attractive and functional reusable bags for many tasks, which increases your visibility throughout the community.

Municipalities have found that when people get into the habit of using reusable bags for shopping, they often begin to take other steps to reduce plastic usage. You may want to consider offering new products for your customers who are looking for alternatives for other single-use items; such as, reusable produce bags, water bottles, utensils-to-go etc.

Ideas to Encourage Use of Reusable Bags

You might find one or more of these ideas good for your business.

  • Display reminders in store parking lot/windows: “Do you have your reusable bags?”
  • Use your email list to alert local and out-of-town customers to the new ordinance.
  • Give a reusable bag away if the customer makes a purchase over a set amount.
  • Have a store-branded reusable bag act as a permanent coupon for some amount of discount off all purchases.
  • Donate 5 cents to a local non-profit organization for each reusable bag used to pack customer purchases.
  • Give a discount of 5-15 cents for each reusable bag used to pack customer purchase.
  • Charge 5-15 cents for each paper bag to offset added cost of paper.
  • Kick off the start of “no plastic bags” by giving away a raffle ticket for each purchase by a customer using a reusable bag over a fixed period of time (e.g., weekly, monthly). Promote the practice, announce the winner(s) in the store, to your email list, in the paper.