I think I have a hardship in complying with this ordinance. What should I do?

The intention of this ordinance is not to hurt our business community. You may request an exemption at any time for any unique circumstances that may arise.  

Establishments may file for a temporary exemption if you qualify for one of the below reasons.  Read below to see if you qualify, and how to apply.  

  • Undue Hardship or Practical Difficulty (includes excess inventory) not generally applicable to other persons in similar circumstances (up to one year exemption, applies to entire Article V)

Applications for an Undue Hardship or Practical Difficulty (not including excess inventory) should prove proactive efforts have been made and be substantiated with factual evidence of why the hardship or difficulty exists despite best efforts to uphold the spirit of the ordinance.

Applications for excess inventory should include proof excess inventory was purchased prior to 11/27/18, the date of ratification.  The City may ask for information periodically on inventory reduction and remaining stock.

  • Public Health and Safety Requirement or Medical Necessity to use the product (up to one year exemption, applies to foam products only)

If you qualify for either of the above reasons, the next step is for you to complete an exemption application(Temporarily Suspended due to Covid-19).  Make sure to explain clearly why you feel like you qualify for an exemption.  Please also remember to attach documents that support your claim.   Please note, approved requests may be posted publicly on the City’s webpage. 

Show All Answers

1. What if an establishment is not following the new rules? How should I report a violator?
2. When did the ordinance go into effect?
3. Who needs to comply with the ordinance?
4. Do these regulations apply to vendors, food trucks, farmers markets, festivals, weddings, etc.?
5. What is the purpose of the Environmentally Acceptable Packaging/ Products ordinance?
6. Where can I find a copy of the full ordinance?
7. What products does the ordinance apply to?
8. Are there any exemptions or products not restricted to begin with?
9. What if I have questions or need additional information?
10. Who do I ask to find out if a particular product I use is recyclable and therefore compliant?
11. What are the types of products that are allowed for use under the ordinance?
12. What type of bag is considered reusable?
13. What is the most environmentally sensitive choice I can make as a business owner or consumer?
14. What should retailers do if they have large stocks of plastic bags that last beyond the January 1, 2020 effective date?
15. I think I have a hardship in complying with this ordinance. What should I do?
16. Is every type of plastic bag prohibited?
17. How do I know if a particular product I use is compostable and therefore compliant?
18. As a customer, can I bring my own single-use plastic carryout bags to the store?
19. Do I have to charge my customers for paper bags?
20. Is there a requirement for recycled content in paper bags?
21. How will this be enforced?
22. Is the City of Charleston coordinating with other local jurisdictions on this?