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News

  • Beach Advisory Lifted: Lovers Point Beach, Pacific Grove

    Lovers Point Beach was posted with an advisory due to high indicator bacteria found in samples taken 9/26/2019. Follow up samples reveal that bacteria counts are at levels considered safe for recreational contact.

    9/20/2019 12:00:00 PM

  • National Food Safety Education Month - Food Safety Conference

    In recognition of September being designated as National Food Safety Education Month, the Environmental Health Bureau of the Monterey County Health Department announced today the recipients of its Award of Excellence, a highlight of the Monterey County Health Department’s Gold Seal program for retai

    9/18/2019 1:00:00 PM

  • 30th Annual Celebration of Culture and Language

    The Annual Celebration of Culture & Language by the Latino Network of Monterey County is Wednesday, September 25th. This year’s main speaker is former Major League Baseball player, Ernesto “Ernie” Camacho. He has returned to his roots in Salinas & established a foundation to encourage Salinas Youth.

    9/18/2019

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FAQ for Reusable Bag Ordinance

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Published on March 06, 2017. Last modified on March 15, 2017

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Spanish Version

What does Monterey County’s Reusable Bag Ordinance do?

recycled-paper-bag-w-blue-backgroundThe ordinance does four key things to promote a consumer shift to reusable shopping bags. First, the Reusable Bag Ordinance prohibits free plastic (thin-film), single-use carryout bags at most retail stores Second, reusable bags and/or paper bags may still be provided only if the store charges a minimum of 10 cents per bag. Third, it describes what specific types of paper and reusable bags may be provided. Fourth, it lists other kinds of bags that are exempted (still allowed).(Click here to see the full ordinance)

When did the ordinance take effect and what area does it cover?

March 27, 2015 throughout all unincorporated areas of Monterey County.

Which stores are affected?

All types of stores are affected with two exceptions; restaurants and some specific non-profit charitable re-users.

What qualifies as a restaurant? Why are restaurants exempt?

Restaurants (i.e., “Public Eating Establishments”) are businesses that receive 90 percent or more of their revenue from the sale of prepared food. They are exempt. Restaurants account for only about 5% of plastic bags. Also take-out food is more prone to spillage and customers are less likely to bring reusable bags to a restaurant.

reusable-canvas-bag-w-earth-and-green-backgroundWhat about Farmer’s Markets, festivals and events?

Retailers at Farmers Markets, festivals and events in the unincorporated areas are included. Food vendors that get 90% or more of its revenue from prepared food are exempt.

What other kinds of plastic bags are still allowed?

The ordinance still allows free, smaller plastic bags needed to protect and separate items that might contaminate each other. For example free plastic bags are still allowed to separate items such as; produce, bulk foods, cooked foods, meat, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Can customers bring their own plastic, paper and/or reusable bags?

Yes. Consumers are encouraged to bring any type of bag (including single-use plastic bags) to a store for their purchases. Customers are only charged for bags provided by the store at check-out.

What if customers don’t want to bring a reusable bag or purchase a paper/reusable bag?

Customers can carry their paid purchases out by hand, or put their goods back into a shopping cart or basket to transport to their vehicle to unload.

What about bag ordinances in the different cities and the new state law the passed last summer?

All cities except Sand City and Del Rey Oaks have passed similar ordinances. They take effect on different dates, but will all be in effect by summer of next year. The city of Salinas and the County have the exact same ordinances with the same implementation dates. The new state law does not apply if a local ordinance has already been passed. Therefore the state law will only apply in Sand City and Del Rey Oaks. The state law is currently under review.

Reusable Bag Ordinance main page

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