The below information applies to our bag ban ordinance, if you are looking for information about what items are allowed in your blue recycling bin, please visit our Recycling page.
The bag ordinance prohibits certain stores from providing single-use plastic carryout bags to customers at the point of sale and requires a 10-cent charge for each paper bag provided to customers.
What is the City of Santa Barbara’s definition of a single-use plastic carryout bag?
Single-use plastic carryout bag means any bag made predominantly of plastic derived from either petroleum or a biologically-based source (including compostable and biodegradable bags). This does not include reusable bags, produce or product bags (bags used to carry meat, vegetables or other products to the point-of-sale).
Why has the City of Santa Barbara banned single-use plastic carryout bags from certain stores?
The intent of the Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance is to significantly reduce the environmental impacts related to single-use plastic carry out bags and promote a shift towards the use of reusable bags.
How are single-use plastic carryout bags harmful to the environment?
What can I use as a carryout bag?
Anything you can safely carry your groceries with, including: reusable bags, baskets, buckets, and boxes, for example.
Are plastic produce bags (used to carry meat and produce to the register) banned from being sold or distributed at stores?
Are plastic trash can liners banned from being sold at stores?
Are the bags that my pharmacist uses for my prescriptions subject to a charge?
No. Paper bags distributed for physician prescribed prescriptions are not regulated. However, carryout bags that a customer obtains for other purchased items would still be affected.
Why are compostable and biodegradable bags included in the definition of Plastic Carryout Bags that are prohibited from being sold or distributed at stores?
Compostable and biodegradable bags have all the same fly-away tendencies as bags made out of light-weight plastic. Therefore, they are as likely to become litter or marine debris. Compostable bags are made to compost in an industrial composting facility, not in the natural environment.
What if I don’t want to buy/bring a reusable bag or purchase a paper bag?
If you can comfortably carry your purchases out by hand, that is one option; or you can repackage your goods into a shopping cart or basket and unload them directly into your vehicle (and then return the cart or basket).
What if I can't afford bags.
Customers have a variety of options available to bypass the cost of purchasing paper and reusable bags, such as:
Are reusable bags recyclable? Where can I bring them to be recycled?
Woven or cloth reusable bags are not recyclable. The best option for this type of bag is to donate it to a second hand store if it is still in usable condition or repurpose the material. Reusable plastic bags and single use plastic bags should be bagged together and either a) brought back to a major grocery store and placed in the bag recycling receptacle or b) placed in your trash. For more on plastic bag disposal please read this article.
Can I use my own carryout bag and avoid the 10-cent charge?
Does the 10-cent charge per paper bag apply to everyone? Who is exempt?
All regulated stores 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 in California supplemental nutrition and feeding programs.
What is the 10-cent charge used for?
All monies collected by a store under this Ordinance may be retained by the store and may be used for:
Is the 10-cent charge per paper bag taxable?
Not currently. Please check with the State Board of Equalization. The latest advisory is that the 10-cent charge on paper bags is not subject to State sales tax.