City Clerk


The stated purpose of the ordinance is to reduce litter and the harmful environmental impact caused by single use carryout bags by imposing a five cent fee on plastic carryout bags. The Duluth city council found that single use carryout bags are polluting city waterways and sewers, endangering wildlife, contributing to climate change, and causing unsightly litter. Given that plastic single use carryout bags can last for many years in landfills and potentially result in harmful chemical pollution, the city council determined that it would be in the best interests of the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens and visitors of Duluth to reduce the distribution of single use carryout bags and incentivize the use of reusable bags in the city.

No. The Minnesota Department of Revenue has determined that carryout bag fees are not subject to sales taxes

No. Bags used to transport takeout foods and/or prepared liquids intended for consumption are not covered by the ordinance. Similarly, bags used for food deliveries are not covered by the ordinance.

No. The plastic bags without handles used exclusively to carry produce, meats, or other food items or merchandise to the point of sale within a store are not subject to the carryout bag fee.

A retail establishment means any person, corporation, partnership, business venture, public sports or entertainment facility, government agency, street vendor, vendor at public events or festivals, or organizations that sell or provide merchandise, goods, or materials including, without limitation, clothing, food, beverages, household goods, or personal items of any kind directly to a customer.

Not-for-profit organizations, food banks, and other food assistance programs are not considered to be retail establishments under the ordinance.

Anyone using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program is exempt from the ordinance.

No. Bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for use as garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags are not subject to the ordinance.

All money raised from this fee is kept by retailers to offset the cost of bags and other costs related to this fee.

Any signage that clearly states that a 5 cent minimum fee will be charged per single-use carryout bag will be deemed sufficient to meet the requirements of the ordinance. 

In 2017, the Minnesota legislature prohibited local governments from banning plastic bags. 

Retailers are free to implement policies that go beyond the requirements of the ordinance, including charging a fee for paper bags.