California State Plastic Bag Ban, SB 270, Approved by Governor Brown

California State Plastic Bag Ban, SB 270,
Approved by Governor Brown into Law

Early this morning, on September 30, 2014, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 270 - creating the first single-use bag ban approved by any state legislature, into law.

The measure bans grocery stores, convenience stores and retailers with pharmacies from handing out single-use grocery bags (both non-recycled paper and plastic bags) with customers' purchases.

This information is simply a summary made available for your convenience (subject to change). We encourage our readers to review the actual ordinance when it is made available for specific requirements and more information.

Ban Ban Overview:

  • Local bans: Bill prohibits a local public agency from enforcing, implementing, or adding any amendments to the bans as defined in the ordinance on or after September 1, 2014, except to increase the charge of bags no less than the minimum defined in the ordinance. Any local laws passed prior to this date may continue to be enforced.
  • Effective July 1, 2015, large retailers affected: Grocery Stores and Retailers with Pharmacies (10,000 square feet of retail floor space and annual sales of $2 million)
  • Effective July 1, 2016, businesses affected: Convenience food store, food mart, or other entity that is engaged in the retail sales of dry groceries and goods intended to be consumed off premises (i.e. canned foods, milk, alcohol…)
  • Single-use bags banned: affected stores are prohibited from selling or distributing single-use carryout bags (plastic and non-recycled paper bags) at the point of sale.
Compostable Plastic Bags
  • Compostable bags offered in jurisdictions that meet specified requirements must charge no less than $0.10.
  • Meet ASTM D6400 composting standard - labeled in accordance with applicable state law
Recycled Paper Bag Requirements
  • Recycled paper bag minimum charge to consumers: $0.10
  • PCR in paper bags: 40% post-consumer recycled material in paper bags. 20% post-consumer recycled material in an 8 point or smaller recycled paper bag.
  • Recycled paper bag labeling/print: name of the manufacturer, country of origin, and the minimum percentage of post-consumer content
Reusable Bags
  • Reusable bag minimum charge to consumers: $0.10
  • Certification of reusable bag manufacturer: third party certification performed by an independent accredited (ISO/IEC 17025) laboratory and reported to the Department of Resources and Recovery with proof of certification and name of supplier of the recycled content
  • Reusable bag durability and quality standards: has a handle, designed for 125 uses, carries 22 pounds over a distance of 175 feet, volume capacity of 15 liters, machine washable or made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Reusable bags print or label requirements: name of the manufacturer, country of origin, statement that the bag is a reusable bag, designed for at least 125 uses, if eligible for recycling in the state include a recycling instruction along with chasing arrows recycling symbol or the term ''recyclable''.
  • Reusable plastic bags minimum thickness: 2.25 mil gauge
  • Effective January 1, 2016, reusable plastic bags PCR: minimum of 20% post-consumer recycled material, be recyclable, and label or print with statement of the post-consumer percentage.
  • Effective January 1, 2020, reusable plastic bags PCR content increase: 40% post-consumer recycled material, be recyclable, and label or print with statement of the post-consumer percentage.
  • Reusable bags made from natural or synthetic fabric including, but not limited to woven or non woven nylon, polypropylene, polyethylene-terphthalate, or Tyvek must also have a fabric weight minimum of 80 grams per square meter.
Exceptions: Pharmacy bags and non handled bags used to protect a purchased item from damaging or contaminating other purchased items when placed in recycled paper or reusable bags. Non handled bags placed over articles of clothing on hangers are also excluded from the single-use bag ban.


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