Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance

Effective December 9th, 2019

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • Madison businesses will no longer provide single-use plastic checkout bags.
  • Paper bags will be available for 10 cents if you forget your own bag.
  • Exempt: plastic non-checkout product bags, such as ones used for dry cleaning, newspapers, bulk foods, and produce bags.

Thank you for your assistance in making Madison a sustainable and healthy place to live and shop.

No more single-use plastic bags, pay 10 cents for paper bags, or bring your own bag

What you need to know:

  • Madison’s ordinance went into effect on December 9th, 2019 and it is more restrictive than the State law.
  • The Madison ordinance pertains to all for profit establishments, including grocery stores, restaurants, farmers markets, food trucks and other establishments.
  • If a customer does not have their own bag, merchants can provide alternative paper bags for ten cents. The cost of each bag must be printed or written on the receipt. The ten cents stays with the merchant to help cover their costs. This charge shall be subject to applicable sales tax.
  • Alternative paper bags must contain no old growth fiber, must be 100% recyclable, must contain at least 40% post-consumer recycled content and must display the word “Reusable” or “Recyclable” on the outside of the bag.
  • Merchants must post signs near the point of purchase to notify customers of this ordinance.
  • This does NOT apply to bags such as laundry or dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, paper gift bags, produce bags, or bags sold in packages intended for garbage, food storage, pet waste, or yard waste.
  • More information can be found in the Madison Code of Ordinances.

Thank you for your assistance in making Madison a sustainable and healthy place to live and shop.


Yes, plastic bags cannot be used for takeout meals or leftovers. Paper bags with 40% post-consumer recycled content can be used for a ten cent fee. Customers should be encouraged to either not take a bag (for small number of items) or bring in their own bag to carry out a large amount.