Clearly define all terms to maintain clarity and avoid loopholes, and keep them consistent throughout the policy and accompanying documents. Key terms to define in policy, may include:

  • Single-use (lightweight)
    • Define all polyethylene bags as single-use regardless of thickness, since typically even thicker polyethylene bags are treated as disposable.
  • Re-usable (thicker)
    • Reusable bags or containers that are allowed should include only thicker polypropylene plastic bags; bags made from cotton, jute or other local materials; and boxes.
    • Austin study determined that 4 ml is the minimum thickness for allowable reusables to be effective.
  • Polyethylene, polypropylene
  • Compostable, Bio-degradable, Oxo-degradables – Include country specific standards
  • Non-petroleum derived bio-plastic bags
  • Recycled paper bags – Include a 40% (minimum) post consumer recycled content requirement for paper and plastic bags
  • Produce bags


View full glossary of terms