Are biodegradable plastic bags allowed?
No. Plastic carryout bag means any bag made predominantly of plastic derived from either petroleum or a biologically-based source, such as corn or other plant sources. It includes compostable and biodegradable bags.
Can biodegradable plastic bags at least 2.25 mils thick be considered "reusable"?
Yes, only as long as the minimum lifespan of the bags are 125 uses (as defined in the ordinance).
Will there be a charge for small sized paper bags distributed at checkout, typically provided by small stores to their customers?
Yes. Any store that provides a recyclable paper carryout bag at checkout to a customer must charge the customer 10¢ for each bag provided to carry out their purchase.
Which bags should I charge 10¢ for?
You must charge 10¢ for each paper bag provided to a customer for the purpose of carrying purchased goods away from your store. Carryout bags provided to WIC/SNAP customers are exempt from this charge.
Are prescription bags subject to the 10-cent charge?
According to the California Pharmacy Board, pharmacies are required to keep medical information confidential. Since many pharmacies use opaque bags for this purpose, only carryout bags used for prescription drugs would be exempt from the County ordinance. Carryout bags customers obtain for other purchased items would still be affected.
Is there a law that requires me to put alcoholic beverages into carryout bags?
The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has released an Industry Advisory regarding this question. There is no California law that mandates a retailer provide a bag for purchased alcoholic beverages. There is also no law requiring retailers in unincorporated areas of the County to provide a bag for purchased alcoholic beverages, although nearby incorporated cities may have such a requirement. If a paper bag is provided, you must apply the 10¢ charge.
What is the 10-cent charge used for?
All monies collected by a store under this Ordinance will be retained by the store and may be used for:
Costs associated with compliance
Actual costs of providing recyclable paper carryout bags
Costs associated with a store's educational materials or education campaign encouraging the use of reusable bags, if any
Does the 10-cent charge per paper bag apply to everyone? Who is exempt?
All affected stores authorized to accept WIC or SNAP purchase payments must provide at the point of sale, free of charge, either reusable bags or recyclable paper carryout bags or both, at the store's option, to any customer participating either in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or in the CalFresh/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Is the 10-cent charge per paper bag taxable?
No, the State Board of Equalization indicates that the 10-cent charge on paper bags would not be subject to State sales tax.
Will other sections of my store that have their own checkout stand have to comply with the Ordinance?
Are reusable bags less than 15 L in volume capacity allowed to be given away for small stores that typically sell items smaller in size and quantity to individual customers?
No. Customers are to be reminded to bring back their reusable bags when shopping. If only a small number of items are being purchased or the items being purchased have handles, customers can easily carry away without a bag.
How do I know if my reusable and paper carryout bags satisfy the Ordinance requirements?
Your carryout bags must meet the minimum requirements listed on the Ordinance.