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Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance

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Single-Use Plastic Carryout Bag Ban

plastic bags ban flyerBring your own reusable shopping bags or purchase paper bags at Calabasas grocers beginning July 1, 2011.

Calabasas has joined the growing ranks of municipalities encouraging residents to bring reusable bags when shopping. On February 9, 2011, the Calabasas City Council passed Ordinance No. 2011-282 to ban the use single-use carryout plastic bags that pollute our environment and constitute a high percentage of litter across the country.

As of July 1, 2011, shoppers will no longer receive disposable plastic bags while shopping at Calabasas supermarkets: Albertsons, Gelson’s, Maddy’s Market, and Ralphs and Rite Aid.

As of January 1, 2012, smaller drug stores, convenience food stores, smaller retail stores and grocers will stop offering disposable plastic bags.

Shoppers are encouraged to use reusable shopping bags whenever possible. Please note that small plastic bags will still be available in stores for fruits and vegetables.

Under the terms of the new law, stores will have reusable bags available for sale and will also offer recyclable paper bags for 10 cents each in lieu of customers bringing their reusable bags or simply carrying items purchased without a bag. The fees collected from bag sales will only go towards helping stores comply with the new law.

Lower income residents who participate in the California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children program will receive either reusable bags or recyclable paper bags for free.

Plastic Bag Facts

  • Plastic bags make up 0.4% of the litter stream, but up to 25% of the waste stream.
  • Californians use about 19 billion plastic bags per year, 6 billion consumed in Los Angeles County alone.
  • An estimated .3% to 5% of plastic bags are recycled at a cost that is much higher than the cost of producing new plastic bags.
  • The average “free” single-use bag is used 12 minutes before being released as pollution in the environment or waste into the landfill.
  • According to the State of California, the current projected annual cost to public agencies in California for litter prevention, cleanup, and disposal is approximately $375 million.

Customer Options

  • No carryout bag –Few, small items that can be carried by hand; Items with handles; or Items packed back into shopping carts/baskets
  • Customer-owned clean carryout bag, box, cart, or basket
  • Store-purchased carryout bag (paper or reusable)

Bag Ban Key Points (R+E+D+U+C+E)

    Use Your Reusable Bag sign
  • Reduce use of single-use bags: The bag ban prohibits single-use plastic carryout bags (flimsy, lightweight plastic bags).
  • Encourage the use of reusable bags: The average consumer in America uses 500 plastic bags each year.
  • Do purchase bags made with recycled content and that are reusable: In the United States, about 14 million trees are cut down to make paper bags annually.
  • Understand impacts: Plastic bags are produced from non-renewable resources. Less plastic and paper bags means more conservation of our limited resources. Use fewer resources by complying with the ban.
  • Cut costs: “Free” single-use bags are costly and the cost is passed onto consumers at checkout, and taxpayers pick up the bill for litter clean-up.
  • Eliminate Waste: Most "free" plastic or paper bag are used for 12 minutes before being released as pollution into the environment or as waste into the landfill. Less than 5% of the 19 billion plastic bags used each year in California are recycled.

Statewide Municipal Action

A number of cities and counties in California are considering or have acted to restrict plastic bags:

  • Cities: Bakersfield, Berkeley, Fairfax, Fremont, Gilroy, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Montebello, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, Twenty-Nine Palms
  • Counties: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Marin, Santa Clara

Quarterly Reporting

All stores must report the following information to the Environmental Services Division on a quarterly basis:

  • Total number of paper carryout bags provided (including those provided free of charge to EBT, WIC, and/or SNAP customers)
  • Total amount of monies collected for providing paper carryout bags
  • Summary of any efforts undertaken to promote the use of reusable bags by customers in the prior quarter

Such reporting must be done on a form prescribed by the Environmental Services Division, and must be signed by a responsible agent or officer of the store confirming that the information provided on the form is accurate and complete for the following quarterly periods:

  • January 1 through March 31
  • April 1 through June 30
  • July 1 through September 30
  • October 1 through December 31

Reports must be submitted no later than 30 days after the end of each quarter. Late submission of quarterly reports shall be subject to the fines set forth in the ordinance.

Report Submission:

Quarterly Reports may be submitted by email, fax, or postal mail using the following form:

Quarterly Report Form

Email: email the completed form to Alex Farassati

Fax: (818) 225-7338

Postal Mail:

City of Calabasas Environmental Services Division
Attn: Carryout Bag Ordinance
100 Civic Center Way
Calabasas, CA 91302

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When does the ordinance take effect?

    • Beginning July 1, 2011: Large stores, defined as full-line, self-service retail store with gross annual sales of $2 million or more or any large store with at least 10,000 square feet of retail space that has a pharmacy (Albertsons, Ralphs, Gelson’s, Maddy’s Market, Rite Aid).
    • Beginning January 1, 2012: Small stores defined as a pharmacy, grocery store, convenience store, foodmart, or other store engaged in the sale of a limited line of goods that includes milk, bread, soda, and snack foods, also includes liquor stores.
  • What kind of plastic bag is banned?

    Plastic carryout bags include any bag made of plastic (from any source), which is provided to the customer at the point of sale.

  • What kind of plastic bag is NOT banned?

    Produce bags and Product bags are bags without handles used exclusively to carry produce, meats, or other food items to the point of sale or to prevent such food items from coming into direct contact with other purchased items.

  • Why has the City of Calabasas banned single-use plastic carryout bags?

    The intent of the Single-use Carryout Bag Ordinance is to significantly reduce the environmental impacts related to single-use plastic and paper carry out bags and promote a major shift towards the use of reusable bags.

  • 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)
    • Difficult to recycle. Less than 5% of the 19 billion (19,000,000,000) plastic bags used annually in California are actually recycled
    • A significant and visible component of litter and do not biodegrade. They remain in the environment as marine, storm drain, and beach pollution for decades
    • A significant hazard to marine animals and birds, which often mistake plastic bags as food
  • Is there any exception to this ban?

    • The Ordinance does NOT prohibit the distribution of plastic “product bags” such as those distributed within a grocery store for bagging produce or meat.
    • Stores are required to provide customers participating in the Supplemental Food program with a reusable bag or recycled paper bag at no cost at the point of sale.
  • What stores are required to charge 10 cents for each recycled paper bag?

    All grocery stores, convenience stores, minimarts, liquor stores, drug stores and pharmacies are prohibited from providing free distribution of single-use paper and plastic carryout bags. If these stores decide to make paper carryout bags available for their customers, they are required to sell recycled paper carryout bags made from 100% total recycled content with 40% post-consumer recycled content for not less than 10 cents per bag.

  • Why is there a $0.10 fee on recycled paper carryout bags?

    The fee of $0.10 on recycled paper carryout bags encourages the use of reusable bags. This cost pass-through reimburses retailers for the costs of providing recycled paper carry out bags to their customers. All of the revenue from the cost pass-through remains with the store.

  • How do I avoid paying 10 cents for each recycled paper bag?

    It’s easy! Remember to bring your own reusable bags to the store. Some stores will even offer you a credit or gift for bringing your own bag!

  • How are paper bags, recycled or not, harmful to the environment?

    • In the US, about 14 million (14,000,000) trees are cut down to make paper bags annually.
    • Cutting down trees releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air. These natural global warming defenders are destroyed when paper products are made.
    • Four times the amount of energy is used in the production of a paper bag than in the production of a plastic bag.
    • Recycling paper requires ten times the amount of energy than recycling plastic does.
  • How should I care for my Reusable Bag?

    The best reusable bags are the ones that can be used over and over again and are machine washable in order to be cleaned properly to prevent germs from accumulating. Wash them as often as you would wash towels or a cutting board. Many people choose to designate different styles of bags for different types of products, such as separate bags for animal products and produce vs. dry goods. Some reusable bags can’t be placed in the washing machine. If you choose to purchase these bags check the manufacturer’s instructions for disinfecting and cleaning them.

  • Why are reusable bags better for the Environment?

    Reusable bags do not pollute the environment and help reduce landfill waste because they are used again and again. Therefore, Calabasas residents and taxpayers do not have to pay the clean-up costs and landfill fees related to disposable, single-use carryout bags.

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