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Plastic Bags

The City of Coral Gables gave the final approval on May 9, 2017 to prohibit the use of single-use carry out plastic bags in Coral Gables. Any entity or individual who has been issued a special event permit by the City is prohibited from providing items in single-use carry out plastic bags during special events.

The City is strongly encouraging businesses to continue using sustainable alternatives. Businesses can qualify for the City's Green Business Certification Program

Certain exceptions exist for prescription medication bags, garbage bags and a few other limited categories. Residents will also be allowed to re-purpose carry out plastic bags.

The ultimate goal of the City of Coral Gables is to replace single-use carry out plastic bags with reusable (best option), recyclable or compostable alternatives in order to reduce littler and pollutants on streets, parks, public spaces and waterways.

There are exemptions that allow the use of certain plastic bags such as those without handles used to protect food or merchandise from being damaged or contaminated, bags to hold prescription medications, those designed to be placed over articles of clothing on a hanger, door hanger bags, newspaper bags, garbage bags, pet waste bags and yard waste bags.

Thousands of marine animals and more than 1 million birds die each year in the United States after ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic debris. To marine animals, a plastic bag can be a floating minefield − to a sea turtle, a floating plastic bag looks like a jellyfish. Because plastic bags are so lightweight, they are easily airborne and found everywhere, littering the streets with many potential hazards and clogging up drains. Plastic bags are not accepted in most recycling collections including here in Coral Gables.

Coral-Gables-Plastics-Expanded-Polystyrene-Flyers-Updated-ADA [PDF]

Sustainable Alternatives

Stores in Coral Gables are encouraged to use:

  • Reusable bags: One reusable bag can replace hundreds or even thousands of single-use plastic bags over the course of its lifetime. (Best Option)
  • Paper Bags (Made up of at least 40% recyclable materials)
  • Compostable plastic bags (ASTM D6400 certified)

Single-Use Plastic Bags Ordinance -2017-13 Signed [PDF]

For more information, please contact Matt Anderson at 305-460-5008 or

Additional Resources 

  • Coral-Gables-Plastics-Expanded-Polystyrene-Flyers-Updated-ADA [PDF]
  • List of Sustainable Alternative Products to Single Use Plastic Disposable Items (List Created and Updated by Debris Free Oceans
    • Items listed above are marine degradable and backyard compostable products available in the Miami-Dade County area. Please note that it is always best to first REUSE and REFILL than to switch to any disposable products.
    • Reusables calculator: this online tool calculates the estimated cost savings and environmental benefits that businesses will obtain by using reusable instead of disposable products. Savings estimates can be calculated for a variety of disposable products, including straws, cutlery, cups, plates, and bowls.
  • Reference in this site to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the City of Coral Gables.

If you have any additional questions on the plastic bag ordinance please call Matt Anderson at 305-460-5008 or email at