FAQs: Frequently asked questions about paper, single-use carryout, and reusable grocery bags, including smarterbags | reusable®

  • Are plastic bags banned in California? No, only single-use plastic bags that are thinner than the 2.25 mil gauge, commonly known as t-shirt grocery bags, are banned in grocery stores located in California. Thick 2.25 mil to 4.0 mil gauged plastic bags (smarterbagsare compliant reusable grocery bags across the state of California and any other city in the US with a bag ban.
  • Why are you charging me for the bags? SB 270 law requires the charge for reusable and recycled paper bags. 
  • Why are you offering plastic bags? Aren't they bad for the environment? smarterbags are good for the environment because they are made with recycled farming plastic. Every use helps eliminate plastic waste. smarterbags have been audited and verified by independent groups as having the lowest carbon footprint of all reusable bags. Most importantly, smarterbags are 100% recyclable and reusable.
  • I thought paper bags are better for the environment? No, paper bags are not better for the environment. Paper bags (including recycled paper bags) require significantly more energy, water, and resources to produce and ship than plastic bags. Unlike plastic, paper bags (including recycled paper bags) cannot be recycled repeatedly. At some point the material becomes unusable and require new wood pulp. Additionally, paper bags can't carry as much and when soiled are not reusable. Paper bags are bulkier and heavier so they need more fuel to ship and take up more landfill space than plastic bags when discarded.
  • Why not just offer biodegradable or compostable bags? Biodegradable or compostable bags are also considered single-use bags that are part of most bag ban ordinances. These materials do not simply biodegrade in the environment or landfills. The Federal Trade Commission has recently taken action against such claims. Biodegradable and compostable bags must meet specific ASTM testing standards and must be commercially composted (different from yard waste composters - backyard composters generally cannot breakdown these bags). Most communities do not have access to commercial composters. As a result, most of these biodegradable / compostable materials are sent to the landfills.
  • Why not just offer the cotton bags or other fabric bags? The cotton reusable bags and other fabric or fabric like (non-woven plastic) reusable bags are generally (1) not made in the US, (2) not recyclable, (3) more expensive to buy and ship. The cotton bags must be reused more than 150 times and the fabric-like bags must be reused 14 times to achieve the same environmental benefits as smarterbags reused only 5 times. 
  • Are smarterbags made with certified recycled content? Yes, smarterbags are made with a minimum of 20% certified Encore® post-consumer recycled content (LDPE #4 or HDPE #2) and are 100% recyclable. Please reuse and recycle smarterbags.
  • Can I clean my smarterbag? Yes, simply clean with soap and air dry or wipe away moisture.