Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance

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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the ordinance take effect?

  • On July 1, 2012. Retail establishments must stop distributing single-use carryout plastic bags, and grocery stores (including supermarkets, convenience stores, liquor stores, and gasoline stations) must begin charging ten-cents for recyclable paper carryout bags.

Why is there a ten-cent fee on paper carryout bags?

  • The fee on recyclable paper carryout bags encourages the use of reusable bags. The cost pass-through reimburses retailers for the costs of providing paper carryout bags to their customers. All the revenue from the cost pass-through remains with the store.
  • Consumers can avoid the cost by remembering to bring their own reusable bags to the store.

How are single-use plastic carryout bags harmful to the environment?

  • They are consumed in extremely high volumes.
  • They are produced from non-renewable resources.
  • They are designed to be disposable rather than reusable.
  • They are difficult to recycle. Less than 5% of the 19 billion plastic bags used annually in California are actually recycled.
  • They do not biodegrade.
  • They are a significant hazard to marine animals and birds, which often mistake plastic bags for food.