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Official OrdinanceCity Trash & Recycling



SECTION ONE: Title 9 of the Santa Barbara Municipal Code is amended by adding a new chapter, Chapter 9.150 (“Single-Use Carry Out Bags”), which reads as follows: 

Section 9.150.010  Definitions.

The following definitions apply to this Chapter: 

A. Customer. Any person purchasing goods from a store.

B. Operator. The person in control of, or having the responsibility for, the operation of a store, which may include, but is not limited to, the owner of the store. 

C. Person. Any natural person, firm, corporation, partnership, or other organization or group however organized.

D. Plastic carryout bag. Any bag made predominantly of plastic derived from either petroleum, natural gas, or a biologically- based source, such as corn or other plant sources, which is provided to a customer at the point of sale. “Plastic carryout bag” includes compostable and biodegradable bags but does not include reusable bags, produce bags, or product bags.


E. Postconsumer recycled material. A material that would otherwise be destined for solid waste disposal, having completed its intended end use and product life cycle. “Postconsumer recycled material” does not include materials and by-products generated from, and commonly reused within, an original manufacturing and fabrication process.

F. Produce bag or product bag. Any bag without handles used exclusively to carry produce, meats, or other food items from a display case within a store to the point of sale inside a store or to prevent such food items from coming into direct contact with other purchased items.

 G. Recyclable. Material that can be sorted, cleansed, and reconstituted using available recycling collection programs for the purpose of using the altered form in the manufacture of a new product. “Recycling” does not include burning, incinerating,converting, or otherwise thermally destroying solid waste.

H.  Recyclable paper carryout bag. A paper bag (of any size)that meets all of the following requirements: 1. contains no old growth fiber; 2. is one hundred percent (100%) recyclable overall and contains a minimum of forty percent (40%) post-consumer recycled material; 3. is capable of composting, consistent with the timeline and specifications of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard D6400; 4. is accepted for recycling in curbside programs in the City; 5. has printed on the bag the name of the manufacturer, the location (country) where the bag was manufactured, and the percentage of postconsumer recycled material used; and 6. displays the word “Recyclable” in a highly visible manner on the outside of the bag.

I. Reusable bag. A bag with handles that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse and meets all of the following requirements: 1. has a minimum lifetime of 125 uses, which for purposes of this subsection, means the capability of carrying a minimum of 22 pounds 125 times over a distance of at least 175 feet; 2. has a minimum volume of 15 liters; 3. is machine washable or is made from a material that can be cleaned or disinfected; 4. does not contain lead, cadmium, or any other heavy metal in toxic amounts; 5. has printed on the bag, or on a tag that is permanently affixed to the bag, the name of the manufacturer, the location (country) where the bag was manufactured, a statement that the bag does not contain lead, cadmium, or any other heavy metal in toxic amounts, and the percentage of postconsumer recycled material used, if any; and 6. if made of plastic, is a minimum of at least 2.25 mils thick.

J. Store. Any of the following retail establishments located and operating within the City:


1. A store of at least 10,000 square feet of retail space that generates sales or use tax pursuant to the Bradley- Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law (Part 1.5 (commencing with Section 7200) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code) and which sells a line of dry grocery or canned goods, or non-food items together with some perishable food items or a store that has a pharmacy licensed pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 4000) of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code;


2. A drug store, pharmacy, supermarket, grocery store, convenience food store, food mart, or other similar retail store or entity engaged in the retail sale of a limited line of grocery items or goods which typically includes, but is not limited to, milk, bread, soda, and snack foods, including those stores with a Type 20 or 21 liquor license issued by the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.


Section  9.150.020  Plastic carryout bags prohibited.

A. No store shall provide any customer with a plastic carryout bag.

B. The prohibition on providing plastic carryout bags applies only to bags provided by a store for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale within the store and does not apply to produce bags or product bags supplied by a store.

Section 9.150.030  Permitted bags.

All stores shall provide or make available to a customer only recyclable paper carryout bags or reusable bags for the purpose of carrying away goods or other materials from the point of sale, subject to the terms of this Chapter. Nothing in this Chapter prohibits customers from using bags of any type which the customer may bring to the store themselves or from carrying away goods that are not placed in a bag, in lieu of using bags provided by the store.

Section 9.150.040  Regulation of recyclable paper carryout bags.

A. Any store that provides a recyclable paper carryout bag to a customer must charge the customer ten cents ($0.10) for each bag provided, except as otherwise allowed by this Chapter.

B. No store shall rebate or otherwise reimburse a customer any portion of the ten cent ($0.10) charge required in subparagraph A, except as otherwise allowed by this Chapter.

C. All stores must indicate on the customer receipt the number of recyclable paper carryout bags provided and the total amount charged the customer for such bags.

D. All charges collected by a store under this Chapter may be retained by the store and used for one or more of the following purposes: 1. the costs associated with complying with the requirements of this Chapter; 2. the actual costs of providing recyclable paper carryout bags; 3. the costs of providing low or no cost reusable bags to customers of the store who are exempted by section 9.150.060; or 4. the costs associated with a store’s educational materials or education campaign encouraging the use of reusable bags, if any.

E. All stores shall report to the City Finance Director, on an annual (calendar year) basis, the total number of recyclable paper carryout bags provided, the total amount of monies collected for providing recyclable paper carryout bags, and a summary of any efforts a store has undertaken to promote the use of reusable bags by customers in the prior year. Such reporting must be done on a form prescribed by the City Finance Director, and must be signed by a responsible agent or officer of the store in order to confirm that the information provided on the form is accurate and complete. Such reports shall be filed no later than ninety (90) days after the end of each year following the year in which this chapter becomes effective.


Section 9.150.050  Use of reusable bags.

A. All stores must provide reusable bags to customers, either for sale or at no charge.

B. Stores are strongly encouraged to educate their staff to promote the use of reusable bags and to post signs and other informational materials encouraging customers to use reusable bags.

Section 9.150.060  Exempt customers.

All 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 either in the California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 123275) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 106 of the Health and Safety Code or in the Supplemental Food Program pursuant to Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 15500) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the state Welfare and Institutions Code.

Section 9.150.070  Enforcement and violations - penalties.

A. Administrative Enforcement. The City Finance Director (or his designee) shall have the primary responsibility for enforcement of this Chapter. The Director is authorized to promulgate Departmental regulations to assist stores in understanding and in complying with this Chapter and to take any and all other  actions reasonable and necessary to enforce and interpret this Chapter.

B. Regulations on Free Reusable Bags. If determined to be appropriate and necessary, the City Finance Director may adopt regulations restricting or limiting the ability of those stores defined in subparagraphs J(1) and J(2) of section 9.150.010 to offer customers free reusable bags as a promotional item.


Section 9.150.080  Operative date.

For those stores defined in subparagraph (J)1) of section 9.150.010, this Chapter shall become operative One Hundred Eighty (180) days after the effective date of the City ordinance adopting this Chapter. For stores defined in subparagraph J(2)of Section 9.150.010, this Chapter shall become operative one year after the effective date of the City ordinance adopting this Chapter.

SECTION TWO: Within two years of the adoption date of this ordinance, the staff of the City Finance Department shall submit a written agenda report to the City Council describing, among other things, whether it appears to the Finance Department that this ordinance has reduced the number of plastic and paper bags used within the City by those stores regulated by this ordinance.


Last Updated: Aug 22, 2018
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